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AMD CFO Thomas Seifert quits

AMD CFO Thomas Seifert quits

AMD's Thomas Seifert has handed in his resignation as the company's chief financial officer, continuing a high-level brain drain at the company spanning half a decade.

AMD's chief financial officer Thomas Seifert has submitted his resignation, continuing a worrying trend of high-level departures at the semiconductor giant.

AMD confirmed late last night that it had received Seifert's resignation as the once-and-former CFO looked to 'pursue other opportunities' outside the company. 'We thank Thomas for his many contributions to AMD and for serving as interim CEO in 2011,' AMD president and chief executive Rory Read claimed in a statement to press. 'Thomas' personal commitment to the highest standards of accountability and financial integrity has helped define how AMD does business today.'

Devinder Kumar, senior vice president and corproate controller at the company, is to take over Seifert's role in the interim while a more permanent replacement is found. 'Devinder is an experienced financial executive,' Read added, 'whose financial expertise and semiconductor experience developed during his 28 year tenure at AMD is an asset to the company.'

Seifert joined AMD in 2008, and was made interim chief executive officer for a brief period following Dirk Meyer's resignation back in January 2011. Meyer wasn't the only one to leave the company: since 2007, AMD has been experiencing something of a exodus of high-level executives, with Meyer going the way of his predecessor Hector Ruiz alongside Henri Richard, Dave Orton, Phil Hester, and more recently graphics guru Bob Feldstein.

AMD has claimed in a statement that Seifert's departure is on good grounds, with no hint of disagreement over the company's accounting principles or any recent financial statement disclosures.

AMD's announcement comes on the same day as OCZ Technology confirmed that its founder and chief executive Ryan Petersen would be leaving the company, replaced in the interim by chief marketing officer Alex Mei.

15 Comments

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Hustler 18th September 2012, 11:02 Quote
it's tempting to read too much into these departures but one by one, those in charge overseeing the Bulldozer debacle are leaving.

Rats leaving a sinking ship?.
Paradigm Shifter 18th September 2012, 13:22 Quote
It is tempting to read into it. Unfortunately, until Piledriver or Steamroller appear and we know exactly what they're going to perform like, supposition will do more harm than good. That won't stop it, though.

Of course, there are a whole host of other possibilities, but when it comes to AMD, people always seem to jump to the worst option (not without some justification, given how pants Phenom I and Bulldozer were/are...)

Thing is, all the non-Intel x86 chipmakers were always chasing after Intel. AMD is the only one who survived to create their own brand in a good light (thanks to Athlon Thunderbird, Athlon XP and Athlon 64). With Intel's Pentium 4 'misstep' AMD had a chance to get ahead, which they did... then floundered - not entirely their own fault, Intel had a lot of power over the big OEMs, Microsoft were very slow to get an x64 OS out, and then it was poorly supported... but anyway, the point is AMD are back in their old place of 'catching up' to Intel.
Snips 18th September 2012, 17:15 Quote
If he was head of technical development or research then maybe you could worry a little. However, these posts go from time to time across large listed companies. I really wouldn't read too much into this.
Snips 18th September 2012, 17:17 Quote
It also doesn't warrant any past or present comparisons with Intel as this has no connection to anything other than him leaving his CFO post.
law99 18th September 2012, 20:39 Quote
Plus, he is a CFO. He is not the brain behind anything you people would care about. Unless you are an accountant.
law99 18th September 2012, 20:41 Quote
Sorry, jumped to the bottom after the second comment. As snips says, he ain't in charge of the tech.
Niftyrat 18th September 2012, 20:43 Quote
As an accountant :) this is interesting only in it means a new top job is open maybe I should apply
Chicken76 18th September 2012, 20:59 Quote
A CFO that held the position of CEO for what ... 6 months? I guess he's more than an accountant if a corporation the size of AMD let him hold the reins that long.
NickCPC 18th September 2012, 22:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by law99
Plus, he is a CFO. He is not the brain behind anything you people would care about. Unless you are an accountant.

A CFO is only is basically responsible for cashflow and signing off investments (amongst many, many other things), but hey, what company need money? ;)
fluxtatic 19th September 2012, 04:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
<snip>

Thing is, all the non-Intel x86 chipmakers were always chasing after Intel. AMD is the only one who survived to create their own brand in a good light (thanks to Athlon Thunderbird, Athlon XP and Athlon 64). With Intel's Pentium 4 'misstep' AMD had a chance to get ahead, which they did... then floundered - not entirely their own fault, Intel had a lot of power over the big OEMs, Microsoft were very slow to get an x64 OS out, and then it was poorly supported... but anyway, the point is AMD are back in their old place of 'catching up' to Intel.

Who are all these 'non-Intel x86 chipmakers' you speak of? As far as I'm aware, the only other x86 licensee was Cyrix, which lives on through Via. And Via's never chased Intel - their markets are pretty fundamentally different. Not sure about Cyrix, but Via, as far as there x86 business goes, are deep in embedded markets and industrial control. They have their little forays into the consumer space, but they could likely give that up without feeling much pain. I find some of their boards mightily tempting (pico-ITX) but the cost is prohibitive for what you get.

I don't know that there's a whole lot to this - for all we know, he really dug being CEO and was hoping to take back the crown. Once he thought it was clear that wasn't going to happen, he bailed. Maybe he's got a sick kid or wife. Anyway, he was the CFO. Tell me if AMD's head of engineering has split, then I'll sweat. Not going to lie awake at night because they lost their head beancounter.
Gareth Halfacree 19th September 2012, 08:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
If he was head of technical development or research then maybe you could worry a little.
Quote:
Originally Posted by law99
Plus, he is a CFO. He is not the brain behind anything you people would care about. Unless you are an accountant.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
Tell me if AMD's head of engineering has split, then I'll sweat. Not going to lie awake at night because they lost their head beancounter.

Allow me to highlight a rather important link from the article you appear to have missed: AMD's chief technology officer steps down. As the article states, Seifert's departure is merely the latest in a stream of top-level executive losses going back half a decade - and if you don't care about the chief financial officer, perhaps the loss of the chief technology officer warrants a raised eyebrow or two?
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickCPC
A CFO is only is basically responsible for cashflow and signing off investments (amongst many, many other things), but hey, what company need money? ;)

Exactly. A CFO is a little bit more than an 'accountant.'
Snips 19th September 2012, 10:13 Quote
No disrespect Gareth in any way but 4 years + in this industry is a lifetime and linking the two could be a little harsh. I don't have to repeat here the troubles at AMD for nearly a decade but as I said earlier, I'd be worried if more technical development heads went. As I am one of AMD's biggest critics, the news of their CFO when AMD still post huge losses year on year which keep getting bigger, I'm surprised he wasn't pushed for allowing funds to be spent on projects that really can't compete well in the marketplace.
Gareth Halfacree 19th September 2012, 10:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
No disrespect Gareth in any way but 4 years + in this industry is a lifetime and linking the two could be a little harsh.
But it's not linking two top-level departures, it's linking many top-level departures. As the article points out, in the last five years AMD has lost Dirk Meyer, Hector Ruiz, Henri Richard, Dave Orton, Phil Hester, and Bob Feldstein - and those are just the ones we wrote about. In the same time, the only interesting high-level hire AMD has made is Jim Keller as chief architect at the microprocessor division.

When you're losing more high-level people than you're hiring, it's indicative of a problem - and when it continues for half a decade, it's indicative of a serious problem. Mind you, there's no need to take my word for it: the news of Seifert's departure has led investors to drop AMD in droves, with the company's share price currently sitting down by almost 10 points.
Snips 19th September 2012, 16:49 Quote
What they have shown to do is promote from within. You can't really say the big names they had have done a good job. The share price has been in a laughable position for quite a few years now with no signs of recovery.
NickCPC 22nd September 2012, 16:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
What they have shown to do is promote from within. You can't really say the big names they had have done a good job. The share price has been in a laughable position for quite a few years now with no signs of recovery.

Hardly through choice though, they must have been struggling to recruit and promoting from within is likely the only remaining option. The big names have left most probably because of frustration with culture or direction from the absolute most senior levels - from what I have read, Hector Ruiz made some terrible decisions and if you have a problem with a company's chairman, you'll be told "it's my way or the highway" and undoubtedly many people, including the widely-reported as incredibly talented Dirk Meyer, decided the door was the only option.

It's painfully clear they have haemorrhaged top talent, which indicates serious deep-rooted problems.
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