It's a big deal when the CFO bids farewell to a troubled company. If that CFO also served as interim CEO last year, and is the most experienced veteran in the C-suite, well, that's a disaster.
That's why shares of Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) crashed overnight, falling as much as 10% in after-hours action on Monday. CFO Thomas Seifert is bidding the chip designer farewell after three years on the job, including the seven months he spent in the CEO office.
On the face of it, this seems like a fairly friendly move. Seifert stays on until Sept. 28 to ease the transition. Reuters says that he wants a permanent CEO position somewhere, which makes sense given his able handling of a rudderless AMD in 2011. But it's a curious career move at the moment, because the semiconductor industry isn't exactly teeming with companies in search of a new CEO.
The best opportunity I can come up with is memory specialist Micron Technology (Nasdaq: MU ) , which has operated under temporary leadership since February and would be a good fit with Seifert's memory-tech background, but Micron's interim CEO Mark Durcan seems to have made his position pretty permanent by now. If it turns out that Seifert's departure was less than amicable after all, I wouldn't be shocked.
So AMD's executive team suffers another big-time turnover, leaving investors to doubt the company's big-picture strategy. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) dominates the PC and server chip markets like never before, while ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH ) and its design partners pretty much slammed the door shut on the mobile industry.
AMD shares are trading near three-year lows, and I'm not convinced that the company has another turnaround left in the tank. You could gamble on AMD getting its act together, or you could make a far safer investment in Intel's proven performance and rock-solid dividends. Our brand-new premium report on Intel describes the semiconductor playing field in great detail, and is a must-read for serious chip investors. Claim your edge on the market right now.