AMD Loses CFO, Client Product Head as Executive Shuffle Continues

AMD CFO Thomas Seifert, who spent several months last year as acting CEO, is leaving at the end of the month, the latest executive departure since CEO Rory Read took over.

Advanced Micro Devices continues the remaking of its executive team under CEO Rory Read, with the latest departures being the company's CFO and the head of its client products business.

The chip maker announced Sept. 17 that Thomas Seifert, the senior vice president and CFO who served as interim CEO for several months before Read was hired in August 2011, is leaving the company to pursue other career opportunities. AMD officials did not say what those opportunities were, but an unnamed source told the Wall Street Journal that Siefert, 48, is interested in becoming the CEO of another company, having enjoyed his seven-month stint directing AMD.

Given that Read is 50, the chances of running AMD anytime soon would have been slim.

Seifert's departure was not over any disagreement over the AMD's financial operations, the company said in a Sept. 17 statement. He will stay with AMD until Sept. 28 to help in the transition to an interim CFO, a position that will be filled by Devinder Kumar, senior vice president and corporate controller.

"We thank Thomas for his many contributions to AMD and for serving as interim CEO in 2011," Read said in a statement.

In a research note Sept. 17, Hans Mosesmann, an analyst with Raymond James, said that Seifert played a positive role in the ongoing change in AMD's efforts and direction. Under Read, the company is looking to focus its efforts in particular markets, continue to push the price/performance story around its chips, and expand the range of its offerings, including its heterogeneous computing approach of leveraging both CPUs and graphics, and ambidextrous computing, where it will use whatever platform-x86 or ARM Holding's chip technology-best serves the customer's needs. AMD also bought microserver vendor SeaMicro in January.

Mosesmann said Seifert may have caught up in the dramatic remaking of AMD's executive and managerial ranks under Read.

"Ultimately we believe Mr. Read wanted his own C-level team at AMD and we're not surprised to see Seifert leave after serving as CEO for a certain time," he wrote, adding that his time as interim CEO at AMD could put him in a good position to land another top job somewhere else.

The Journal also reported that Chris Cloran, general manager in charge of AMD's client products, is also leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

The departures of Seifert and Cloran continue the reshaping of AMD's top ranks since Read arrived in August from Lenovo following the forced resignation in January 2011 of CEO Dirk Meyer. Some names are long associated with AMD, such as Rick Bergman (now president and CEO of Synaptics). Coming in are such people as Lisa Su, a former IBM executive who is senior vice president and general manager of AMD's global business units; CTO Mark Papermaster, who once was with IBM and Apple; and Suresh Gopalakrishnan (formerly of Extreme Networks) as corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's server business.

More recently, AMD in July lost John Bruno, a chip engineer and systems architect, to Apple. However, a month later, AMD hired Apple processor expert Jim Keller and in September grabbed John Gustafson from rival Intel to head up its Graphics Business Unit, which includes the Radeon and FirePro product lines.