Report: AMD pushed out CEO for lack of focus on mobile

Advanced Micro Devices' board forced out CEO Dirk Meyer because the board felt he was not doing enough to get the chipset vendor into the fast-growing mobile sector, according to multiple reports. The news highlights the pressure on all chip makers to make inroads in the mobile space.

Reports in both the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, which cited unnamed sources, said the disagreement over the company's decision not to make chips for smartphones and tablets led to a rift. Meyer, a 15-year AMD veteran, suddenly resigned late Monday, and has been replaced on an interim basis by CFO Thomas Seifert. According to the Journal, AMD's board voted unanimously last week to seek a new CEO. 

AMD spokesman Drew Prairie declined to comment, and referred to the company's statement about Meyer's departure. In the statement, AMD Chairman Burce Claflin said Meyer became CEO during a difficult time and stabilized the company. "However, the board believes we have the opportunity to create increased shareholder value over time," Claflin said. "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."

AMD has long battled Intel in the PC chip market. In mobile, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) acquired some handheld graphics and multimedia technology assets in January 2009 from AMD for $65 million, and AMD joined the open-source MeeGo project in November--but AMD has been largely a bystander in mobile.

AMD's stance contrasts sharply with that of Intel, which has made no secret of its desire to get its chips into smartphones and tablets. Intel CEO Paul Otellini said in December the chipmaker had 35 tablet design wins, and that the company's silicon will be in "smartphones from premier-branded vendors in the marketplace in the second half of 2011." Intel and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) teamed for the smartphone and tablet platform MeeGo, and devices powered by the platform are expected this year.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article

Related Articles:
Intel CEO promises chips in 'premier' smartphones in 2011
Qualcomm buys AMD handheld assets for $65M
Intel CEO vows to make splash in tablet market
ARM ups ante with new mobile processor core
Intel goes all-in on wireless with Infineon deal, but will the bet pay off?
Intel scoops up Infineon's wireless chip biz for $1.4B