What bad year? AMD's Hector Ruiz gets a raise

AMD has decided to give its CEO a raise despite a horrible year for the company plagued by product delays and poor execution.

UPDATED: See lengthly explanation below.

Apparently blessed with the best salary-negotiating skills in the universe, AMD CEO Hector Ruiz is getting a raise.

After spending most of Thursday apologizing to financial analysts for AMD's performance in 2007, the company revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Ruiz's compensation agreement was amended on Wednesday with his new salary: $1,124,000. Earlier this year, AMD said Ruiz made $1,046,358 in base salary (click for PDF) during 2006, with a total compensation package for the year of $12,848,435.

AMD's stock is down 60 percent in 2007. The company is about to write off some "material" portion of the $3.2 billion in goodwill it assigned to the acquisition of ATI Technologies, a sign that the company way overpaid for the graphics chip maker in 2006. AMD's decision to favor Dell over channel partners when it came to chip distribution backfired when Dell ran into all of its problems, dooming AMD to a $611 million first-quarter loss. And Barcelona, the quad-core processor AMD spent years hyping, won't arrive in any kind of major volume until the first quarter of next year due to a series of technical glitches.

But other than that, AMD's board of directors must have figured that Ruiz had a pretty good year. The move should allow Ruiz to remain the highest paid CEO among his peers in the semiconductor industry on Forbes' annual list of CEO pay next year.

UPDATED: 12/14: So as you might imagine, AMD called back today about this story.

It turns out that a senior member of AMD's public relations staff erred when confirming Thursday afternoon--prior to publishing this report--that Hector was given a raise this week. The raise in question actually came last year, and the $1,046,358 in the proxy statement reflected that Hector spent part of 2006 making $950,000, and part of 2006 making $1,124,000. Hector's annual salary rate has changed slightly since then, but by just $24,000 or so to reflect a different accounting treatment of a car expense.

Why did the SEC filing with the new rate come out yesterday, and not 18 months ago? They're not sure. Why did the representative and the people he spoke with not know how much money their boss was making? Also a good question.

But in any event, that's how this all happened. And Ruiz is still the highest-paid CEO in the semiconductor industry.

About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

     

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