Rick Bergman, who left chip maker AMD a week ago, is now the new president and CEO of Synaptics, which builds interfaces for computing devices.
A week after leaving Advanced Micro Devices
after five years
with the company, Rick Bergman has resurfaced as the new president and CEO of
Synaptics, which makes interfaces for
computer devices in the mobile computing and communications fields, announced
Sept 28 that Bergman is replacing Russ Knittle, who had spent almost a year as
interim president and CEO. Bergman became the latest official to leave AMD
during a year in which the chip maker has seen significant executive turnover.
Bergman came to AMD in 2006 with
graphics technology maker ATI Technologies in a $5.5 billion deal. The deal was
controversial at the time and for a while had been a drag on AMD finances, but
it also formed the basis for the company's Fusion strategy of integrating the
graphics capabilities and the CPU on the same piece of silicon. The first of
the Fusion APUs-or accelerated processing units, as AMD officials call
them-were released at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in January.
The Fusion chips have helped buoy AMD's
standing in the worldwide processor market. Mercury Research in July said the Fusion chips helped AMD
grow its share of the
chip market to 19.4 percent in the second quarter, an increase over its 17.8
percent share during the same period last year.
As senior vice president and general
manager of AMD's products group, Bergman oversaw the vendor's computing
platforms and was responsible for the CPU and graphics product development
teams. His work at AMD makes Bergman a good fit at Synaptics, according to
Francis Lee, chairman of Synaptics' board of directors.
"Rick is a visionary leader with a
proven track record of driving performance to a higher level," Lee said in
a statement. "He is an ideal fit to help Synaptics further capitalize on
the rapid growth of capacitive touch technology within an expanding range of
markets. ... With the addition of Rick's deep industry expertise and extensive
product focus, Synaptics is very well-positioned to continue its culture of
innovation and technological leadership."
Bergman said he is coming to Synaptics
at an important time in the company's evolution.
"Synaptics is at the forefront of
the industry as the innovator in its markets and is poised to benefit from a
refreshed and expanded product portfolio, including the most advanced next
generation touch solutions available today," Bergman said in a statement.
"I have always been impressed by Synaptics' track record of financial
performance and am drawn to the tremendous talent and engineering depth across
Synaptics' TouchPad flagship product
can be found in many of the notebooks on the market, and its technology also
can be found in a number of other devices, including tablets, mobile phones and
Bergman is among a number of executives
who have left AMD since the beginning of the year. Dirk Meyer resigned as CEO
in January after disagreements with the company's board of directors about the
direction of the chip maker. Among the disagreements was the board's
dissatisfaction with AMD's response to the booming tablet and smartphone
Several other executives left in the
months following the departure of Meyer, who was replaced in August by former Lenovo executive Rory Read
Despite the turnover, AMD officials
have spent the year pushing the company's Fusion strategy and releasing APUs
for a variety of desktops and notebooks, as well as embedded devices. At the
same time, they have been preparing the next generation of Opteron server chips
based on the new "Bulldozer" architecture.
AMD has run into recent issues with its
chips, however. Officials on Sept. 28 reduced their third-quarter financial
outlook due to problems at manufacturing partner Globalfoundries' Germany
factory that has led to limited supplies of the 32-nanometer "Llano"
Fusion APUs and delayed shipments of the 12- to 16-core Opteron 6200 Series "Interlagos"
AMD took a beating from some analysts
and investors after the downgraded outlook was released. However, some analysts
said AMD still has strengths despite the recent problems.
"While this is definitely a
disappointment, and two steps back on its turnaround, we believe AMD still has
a compelling portfolio of notebook Llano and Bulldozer products, with OEM
demand," Sterne Agee analyst Vijay Rakesh said in a Sept. 29 note. "Given
the execution issues, investors will put AMD in the penalty box. Nonetheless,
we still believe AMD is an attractive [investment] opportunity, as it
still has solid OEM demand for its [notebook and server] products and the
supply issue should be a near-term issue."