Was AMD right to give Meyer the boot?

Now that the dust is beginning to settle after the now former CEO of chip-maker AMD, Dirk Meyer, resigned from his post at the head of the firm, there has been much contemplation as to what the circumstances of his departure were.

Although Meyer has not made any more comment further, a statement was released by AMD: “My 15 years at AMD have included some amazing high points,” he said. “I wish the company well as AMD focuses successfully on the road ahead.”

While it is widely thought that the ‘resignation’ of Meyer was of course a smokescreen for him getting the chop, citing a supposed abmition of growth, it has been left to speculation as to what really occurred. 

Techeye was able to shed some light on the swiftness of the decision not long after it was made, according to a source close to the organisation. However many are now debating as to what may have happned in the run up to Meyer would have been pushed and whether AMD were in fact right to get rid of Dirk Meyer, leaving many left scratching their head.

The web has seen many theories as to whether AMD will be vindictaed in their decision or not today. For instance Bright Side Of The News cited three ‘deadly sins’ that are thought by some to be why Meyer did in fact deserve to get the boot:

1. Failure to execute. K8/Hammer/AMD64 was 18 months late, Barcelona was deliberately delayed 9 months, Bulldozer was scrapper and running 22 months late.

2. Giving netbook market to Intel (AMD created the first netbook as part of OLPC project) and long delays of Barcelona and Bulldozer architectures.

3. Completely missing the perspective on handheld space – selling imageon to Qualcomm, Xileon to Broadcom

However, Meyer was also was regarded as the person who managed to steady AMD, something which the board themselves recognised in the statement, driving shares from $2 to $9 during his two and a half year tenure spanning turbulent economic times.

Furthermore Meyer is credited with designing the DEC Alpha chip, a chip still considered to be extremely forward looking even now, as well as leading an upturn in AMD’s fortunes with the Opteron series.  See here for more editorial comment.


Essentially it seems that AMD may have taken a rather risky route,  a sentiment shared with Future Horizons analyst Malcolm Penn, who believes AMD were in fact wrong to dismiss Meyer: 

“Sounds to me like a classic case of ‘not a good corporate man’ syndrome … the board wants ‘an impossible goal, now’ … the exec team wisely counsels ‘hang on a mo, that’s not going to happen’ … board says ‘”you’re fired we’ll get in someone who’s more aggressive and ‘on message’ ”  … which they then do and he says “yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir” … the board says “good man” … plan doesn’t happen, the exec team were right in their caution … new man get’s fired for non-delivery … meanwhile company has lost ground, by focusing on the wrong things, and falls behind … etc etc.”

“Dirk M may not have been a Jerry Sanders (but then neither is Ottelini!) but he was solid as a rock and was overseeing a major product roll out that put Intel to shame.”

“Long-term prognosis? … a bad day for AMD and their long-term future.”