Oracle's Hurd, EMC's Gelsinger Turn Down AMD CEO Advances: Report

 
 
By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2011-06-15
 
 
 

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and current Oracle President Mark Hurd and Pat Gelsinger, a longtime Intel executive and current EMC COO, reportedly are among the people who have turned down Advanced Micro Devices' overtures to fill its vacant CEO slot.

According to a Bloomberg report June 15, Hurd, Gelsinger and Greg Summe, manager director of investment firm Carlyle Group, were all approached by AMD officials to gauge their interest in running the chip-making company, which has been without a permanent CEO since Dirk Meyer resigned in January following a falling out with the board of directors.

CFO Thomas Seifert has been the interim CEO since Meyer's resignation, but has already said he doesn't want the CEO job.

Citing anonymous "people familiar with the search," Bloomberg reported that Hurd, Gelsinger and Summe all opted out of consideration for the post. Gelsinger, who was with AMD rival Intel for close to three decades before leaving for EMC in 2009, told Bloomberg in an interview that he flatly turned down AMD's advances.

"I said no, and I said no again," he said.

Spokespeople for Oracle and Carlyle Group both declined comment. Hurd resigned under pressure as HP CEO in August 2010 after a former HP contractor accused him of sexual harassment and an internal investigation claimed he falsified expense reports. A month later, Oracle hired him as president.

AMD Chairman Bruce Claflin is heading up the group looking for a new CEO. Seifert reportedly said during a conference in May that the search committee was making "good progress" in the search, which is being helped by recruitment firm Heiddrick & Struggles.

Meyer's nearly three-year tenure as AMD CEO abruptly ended in January, when the company announced his resignation after continue disagreements with the board of directors over the direction of the world's second-largest chip vendor. The timing was surprising, coming on the heels of AMD's launch of its initial Fusion APUs (accelerated processing units) at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.

Meyer oversaw AMD's shedding of its manufacturing business-spinning it off to create Globalfoundries-and the launch of the Fusion line of chips, which offer discrete-level graphics, memory controller and CPU on a single piece of silicon. However, delays in the Fusion launch enabled Intel to come out with its "Sandy Bridge" chip architecture, which also includes integrated graphics.

In addition, Meyer-unlike Intel CEO Paul Otellini-was not anxious to jump into the burgeoning tablet and smartphone markets, instead saying he preferred to wait for the markets to mature before jumping in. Many analysts said they believe such reluctance to address the mobile device chip space-which currently is dominated by ARM-designed products-was a key factor in the AMD board's dissatisfaction.

About a month after Meyer resigned, Seifert said AMD would make a push into the tablet market, though he said the company would forego the smartphone space for the time being.

"We have no intention of entering the smartphone space at this point of time," Seifert said during a conference Feb. 16. "There are enough players in this market that have a hard time earning money."

The next CEO will have to determine AMD's direction in an increasingly competitive processor space. AMD holds less than 19 percent of the world's overall chip market, and it currently is running behind rival Intel in the race to challenge ARM and its partners-including Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Nvidia and Samsung-in the mobile device arena.

The company is still making strides in its traditional PC and server businesses-the company on June 14 launched its Fusion A-Series "Llano" APUs for mainstream desktop and notebook PCs, and its prepping the release of its "Interlagos" 16-core Opteron chips, based on the "Bulldozer" core architecture. But revenue growth in the PC space-particularly among consumers-is slowing, and the mobile device space holds promise of strong returns. Analysts predict that as many as 294 million tablets and 850 million smartphones will be sold in 2015.


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