Report: AMD's Meyer fired over failure to target mobile devices

Ousted CEO found himself at odds with the board because of his lack of strategy and interest in pursuing a market in tablets and other mobile devices, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Lance Whitney
Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
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AMD's former CEO Dirk Meyer reportedly lost his job over his failure to carve out a niche for the chipmaker in the growing mobile market.

Former AMD CEO Dirk Meyer
Former AMD CEO Dirk Meyer AMD

Citing people familiar with the matter, a story in today's Wall Street Journal (subscription required) said that AMD's board had been concerned for the past year over Meyer's seeming lack of motivation and interest in expanding the company's reach into mobile devices. Following a meeting in November, the board grew more impatient, eventually forcing Meyer to resign on Monday.

The Journal was unable to reach Meyer for comment yesterday.

Meyer inherited the CEO job from Hector Ruiz in July 2008 at a time when the company was struggling to win market share in the shadow of Intel. During Meyer's two-and-half-year tenure, AMD was forced to reorganize and lay off part of its workforce.

But it was Meyer's inability to adapt AMD to the changing mobile landscape that apparently and eventually led to his downfall with the board. Comments by the former CEO seemed to indicate a lack of priority in focusing on the growing tablet and smartphone arena.

In October, Meyer said during an earnings call that "frankly, we're still so small in the notebook market that it doesn't make sense for us to turn R&D dollar spending toward the tablet market yet. We'll start doing that when the market is big enough."

And even during his appearance at last week's CES, Meyer called the market for tablets and smartphones large but not as lucractive as that for PCs. "While there are a lot of units there, the revenue is smaller," Meyer said, according to the Journal.

For now, AMD's Chief Financial Officer Thomas Siefert will run the company as the search goes on for a new CEO.