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AMD's woes continue as CFO Seifert quits and shares tumble

Advanced Micro Devices is parting ways with its chief financial officer and former interim CEO Thomas Seifert, the chip maker said Monday.

Seifert, who has served as AMD's CFO for the past three years and was interim CEO from January to August of last year, was leaving to "pursue other opportunities," according to AMD. The executive was reportedly seeking a permanent CEO position, according to Reuters.

The struggling chip maker has seen an unusual amount of churn in its top ranks in recent years. Former CEO Dirk Meyer, who himself replaced Hector Ruiz just a few years earlier, resigned last January, reportedly due to differences with AMD's board over the company's failure to penetrate the mobile device market. Meyer was replaced by Seifert on an interim basis until AMD hired Rory Read, the current CEO, last August.

Meanwhile, top veteran executives like Rick Bergman have also headed for the exit over the past year, giving the impression that there is conflict between the visions of the new Read-led management team and holdovers from the old AMD like Siefert.

Downsizing and restructuring plans have also apparently had an effect on morale, according to one long-time, historically loyal AMDer back at CES 2012.

AMD shares plummeted by 12 per cent after the news that Siefert was leaving dropped, Reuters noted.

"Seifert's departure is not based on any disagreement over the company's accounting principles or practices, or financial statement disclosures," the chip maker said in a statement.

Seifert will be replaced on a temporary basis by senior vice president and corporate controller Devinder Kumar until a replacement is found.

A few months ago, the chip maker made a high-profile acquisition of SeaMicro, a maker of microservers and data centre fabric technology. This month, AMD announced its first self-branded SeaMicro product, the SM15000 server, but it will only run on Intel Xeon chips at first.

AMD's prospects on the consumer side seem dicier. The company's new APUs combine x86-based CPU cores with its GPU technology to offer a unique alternative to industry giant Intel's PC offerings, while the Radeon discrete graphics products AMD added with its 2006 acquisition of ATI Technologies remain a market favourite. The trouble is, PCs aren't selling as well as they used to before the rise of smartphones and tablets. Intel itself is struggling to adapt and its smaller rival, having lived on the razor's edge for so long, is almost assuredly in an even tighter spot.

The chip maker has largely watched on the sidelines as the mobile device era has taken off. By contrast, AMD's main GPU rival, Nvidia, has fully embraced mobile and has positioned its Tegra line of ARM-based chipsets to take advantage of rising demand for smartphones and tablets.