AMD Loses Its Chief Technology Officer

Phil Hester, who was leading the company's efforts in Accelerated Computing, is leaving as of April 11.

Phil Hester, chief technology officer and a senior vice president at Advanced Micro Devices, is leaving the company April 11 and the chip maker has no plans to fill his position.

The news of Hester's departure comes at the end of difficult week for AMD, which announced that its first-quarter sales were down and that it will eliminate about 1,600 employees later in 2008.

Hester's departure was not related to the job cuts that were announced April 7, a spokesperson said. Before leaving, Hester oversaw the company's efforts to develop what it calls Accelerated Computing, which looks to use other pieces of hardware, called accelerators, in combination with traditional CPUs to increase the performance of applications and to allow those applications to take advantage of chips with multiple processing cores.

Instead of AMD filling the CTO position, the individual CTOs within each of the company's five business divisions will now oversee technical developments and set the tone for AMD's chip developments, according to Drew Prairie, an AMD spokesperson.

Mike Uhler, senior vice president in charge of AMD's accelerated computing efforts, will now take charge of those technological developments and report directly to company President Dirk Meyer.

The company has been struggling, announcing in 2007 that its long-anticipated quad-core Opteron processor, "Barcelona," was being delayed after engineers found a design flaw within the silicon. On April 9, AMD announced that the corrected version of the chip would begin shipping to its OEM partners.

AMD is expected to announce its first-quarter results April 17.

Before joining AMD, Hester was CEO of Newisys Data Storage, which made servers and supercomputers and was an early supporter of AMD's Opteron processors. Hester also worked at IBM for more than 20 years.