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3dfx CEO resigns

3dfx Interactive (Nasdaq: TDFX) is looking for a new boss.

L. Gregory Ballard resigned as president and CEO, effective Oct. 31, the company announced Thursday. The board will launch a search for his successor immediately. Ballard will direct the committee looking for his replacement.

Under Ballard's 3-year tenure, 3dfx became one of the leading makers of 3D graphics chipsets for PCs. But the company has struggled with profitability and missed analyst estimates the last two quarters as it digested its acquisition of STB Systems. 3dfx trailed rivals such as nVidia in securing wins with PC makers, an especially important sector because OEMs are increasingly replacing the retail sector as the main source of 3D accelerator sales.

It didn't help that 3dfx's flagship Voodoo line of chipsets is seen by some as technologically inferior to nVidia's latest products. "I truly believe that the challenges in this next phase of the Company's growth will be more technical than marketing and strategic and that 3dfx can benefit from the fresh perspective that a new CEO can bring," Ballard said.

Shares of 3dfx rose 5/32 to 8 19/32 in Thursday's regular trading prior to the announcement. Of half a dozen analysts polled by Zack's Investment Research, four rate 3dfx the equivalent of "hold", one has it as a "moderate buy", and one maintains a "strong buy" rating on the stock.>