x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

AMD appoints interim chief executive

US chip maker Advanced Micro Devices, which counts Mubadala Development among its shareholders, has replaced chief executive Dirk Meyer with the firm's chief financial officer on an interim basis, according to the company.

Dirk Meyer, the chief executive of the US chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), has been replaced by the firm's chief financial officer on an interim basis, the company said yesterday.

The news came after Mr Meyer's resignation the same day.

Shares of AMD fell more than 4.6 per cent to US$8.76 in after-market trading on Monday on news of Mr Meyer's departure, which was largely attributed to AMD's failure to develop microchips for the market in handheld devices.

AMD has appointed Thomas Seifert to replace Mr Meyer temporarily as it seeks a new chief executive.

"The board believes we have the opportunity to create increased shareholder value over time," said Bruce Claflin, the executive chairman of AMD.

"This will require the company to have significant growth, establish market leadership and generate superior financial returns. We believe a change in leadership at this time will accelerate the company's ability to accomplish these objectives," he said.

Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, is one of the chip maker's largest shareholders with a 19.3 per cent equity stake. Waleed al Muhairi, Mubadala's chief operating officer, is also an AMD board member.

"Mubadala supports the board's decision to name Tom Seifert as interim [chief executive] to lead them through this period of transition," the company said.

Mr Meyer did not provide a reason for his departure, but Malcolm Penn, the founder of Future Horizons, a semiconductor consultancy in the UK, said the resignation was a clear sign that AMD's board had penalised management for not focusing on lucrative devices such as smartphones and tablets.

AMD competes primarily against Intel, making microprocessors for desktop and laptop computers. Its microchips are designed for power-intensive computers, an area the technology sector is moving away from as energy efficiency improves for smartphones and tablets. "Dirk Meyer was solid as a rock and was overseeing a major product roll-out that put Intel to shame," said Mr Penn. "Long-term prognosis? [This is] a bad day for AMD and their long-term future."

The company reports its fourth-quarter earnings on January 20 but gave preliminary results that showed its revenue increased 2 per cent to $1.65 billion (Dh6.06bn) compared with the previous quarter. Its gross margin was approximately 45 per cent.

AMD's stock was down 16 per cent last year compared with 2009.