There's something fishy going on at Advanced Micro Devices
Dirk Meyer, who chaperoned the company out of the dark ages and nursed it back to health, is no longer CEO. CFO Tom Seifert is the interim CEO, with no interest in a permanent title change. Nobody saw this change coming, and AMD is trying to assure us that everything is all right because its fourth-quarter sales were stronger than expected.
Nothing to see here, folks -- move along!
I'm not reassured at all, and I'm not alone. The stock fell hard on the news.
Meyer was a fine leader and a proven winner with an appropriately technical background, and he will be hard to replace. There's no separation agreement and no long goodbye, just a quick exit. AMD is not keeping Meyer around, or perhaps it's his choice not to stick around. That's a hot issue among AMD analysts today, because it makes no sense to boot out a proven CEO without a replacement plan. On the other hand, why would Meyer choose to leave the company he helped construct in a manner that might permanently damage his creation?
AMD reports earnings in another two weeks, and the company had better have a sensational CEO with a solid execution plan by then. Otherwise, the conference call will be a verbal bloodbath, and the stock will suffer again. Yesterday, I would have told you to buy on nearly any dip, but the stock is now cheap because it deserves to be.
The board and Meyer himself have a lot of questions to answer before any of them can be trusted again. I haven't seen an exit this ugly since Hewlett-Packard unceremoniously dispatched Mark Hurd last summer.
Will AMD find a suitable successor to Meyer, or did the company just miss out on a golden age? Add AMD to your watchlist, then discuss in the comments below.