Rick Bergman joins Synaptics as chief exec

Rick Bergman might be out at AMD, but he's not planning on joining the dole queue just yet: touch-interface specialist Synaptics has announced his appointment as chief executive.

Bergman joined AMD when it acquired graphics specialist ATI in 2006, and was promoted to manage the product group in 2009. He's largely responsible for the direction the company's consumer products have taken in recent years, but hints of bad blood between him and Rory Read, former Lenovo boss and new AMD chief executive, saw him leave the company last week.

Although AMD's announcement was silent on the matter of what Bergman would do next, the question has been answered: Synaptics has hired him as its new chief executive, taking over from interim chief Russ Knittel.

"I'm extremely excited to join Synaptics at this juncture of the company's development," claimed Bergman. "Synaptics is at the forefront of the industry as the innovator in its markets and is poised to benefit from a refreshed and expanded product portfolio, including the most advanced next generation touch solutions available today.

"I have always been impressed by Synaptics' track record of financial performance and am drawn to the tremendous talent and engineering depth across the organisation," Bergman gushed. "I am energised by the chance to further harness the company's potential to capture the growing opportunities in front of it and to build on Synaptics' longstanding commitment to driving shareholder value."

Synaptics, founded in in 1986, is one of the world's biggest suppliers of trackpad devices for laptops and netbooks - and if you're reading this on a laptop, the chance are good you've got one sat beneath your keyboard right now. Recently the company has started to branch out into touch-screen devices, and it's thought that Bergman will lead the charge against industry incumbents.

Kittel, for his part, is out: appointed interim president and chief executive in October 2010, he is due to retire as an employee following a period of easing Bergman into the role, although he will retain his board membership.