Did AMD Pick the Right CFO?

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Since promoting Bob Rivet to the position of Chief Operations and Administrative Officer, Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD  ) has been running without a dedicated CFO for the last year or so. Now the permanent CFO has been named, so AMD can move on with a fully functional management team. That's great -- but I'm feeling a little queasy about the final choice.

Rivet had been pulling double duty ever since AMD began its search for a CFO. Rivet came to AMD in 2000 from the semiconductor division of Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) shortly after the company brought on Hector Ruiz, who would later become the CEO. Now Ruiz is out, Rivet is fully installed in a new role, and the management team looks very different from the one that took AMD through some of its highest highs and most miserable lows.

Tom Seifert, the new man for the job, is a former executive at German chip designer Infineon AG and then memory chip maker Qimonda. I don't have anything against Seifert personally, and he certainly has a lot of experience in the semiconductor industry. AMD wouldn't spend a year looking for an executive only to settle for anybody less than solidly qualified for the job. But mention Qimonda and I can't help but be reminded of that company's recent bankruptcy. As an AMD investor, that connection does not make me comfortable. Still, Qimonda's demise was the result of a brutal price war between memory titans like Samsung, SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK  ) , and Micron (NYSE: MU  ) , and hardly Seifert's fault. We can give the guy a break.

AMD's entire business model looks radically different than it has in recent years, during which Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) has been running circles around it, but we're seeing the first stages of a very different AMD now. Let’s hope this new management team can successfully guide the company through a difficult phase in which it sheds assets and re-focuses on the engineering of its products.

Did AMD upgrade or downgrade its management team today? Does Seifert’s experience trump his association with Qimonda's descent into bankruptcy? I'm dying to know what you think, and the comments box below is waiting for you.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in AMD, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (2)

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  • Report this Comment On October 08, 2009, at 4:30 PM, tycoelectronics wrote:

    with the cash infusion thus bankruptcy off the table everybody at AMD must be feeling much more at ease with continuing operations. It's impossible to tell whether the new hire brings anything valuable to the organization, ultimately what will determine his success is the growth of amd from the red to the black. If he is able to report this transition, emphasize some reduction in overhead, and perhaps avoid a devestating price war with the monoplists, he will be considered a hero.

  • Report this Comment On October 08, 2009, at 4:54 PM, actue wrote:

    I am not certain about Mr. Seifert's other qualifications but the bankruptcy experience should prove useful................

  • Report this Comment On October 08, 2009, at 7:18 PM, taishiba wrote:

    The technology and sales and business development need to be re worked, the CFO is a small player in the overall management of the company. We shall see about improved earnings on the way to a breakeven and return to profitability - entirely possible but CFO can not fix the problems without an austere management...

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 12:42 PM, wulz wrote:

    Siefert was one of the crooks called “the board” that drove Qimonda into the ground. Other memory companies survived but Qimonda failed coz of no money due to bad decisions and questionable actions. It wasn't just a bad market! And AMD put this clown in charge of the money!. LOL!

    It’s just greedy senior management aholes looking after each other.No doubt he got the job thru one of his AMD buddies in Dresden. Siefert is probly down to his last million so he needs the job. Never mind the thousands he put out of work, and the many that got no money at all.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:32 PM, wulz wrote:

    Actually I think Intel will be very pleased about Herr Siefart's appointment.

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