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.