AMD's Short-Term Chief Talks Transition, Tablets

Thomas Seifert says he never sought to run Advanced Micro Devices. But while he’s at it, he’s not shy about gloating over the chip maker’s next big product–-and giving clues about AMD’s aims in the mobile market.

Seifert, AMD’s chief financial officer, was elevated in January to interim chief executive following the sudden departure of Dirk Meyer. He said he immediately opted to take his name out of consideration for the permanent CEO job, because he wanted to avoid any indication that friction among AMD senior executives could have been a factor in Meyer’s resignation.

The management change “was a board decision,” Seifert said Wednesday, in an interview following his appearance at a Goldman Sachs technology conference in San Francisco. “I was as surprised as anybody else.”

The board, Seifert said, did not act because of anything the popular CEO had done or not done, but questions about AMD’s future. “Are we on the right trajectory? Do we set our objectives high enough?” Seifert said. In considering such questions, he said, directors concluded a different set of skills than Meyer’s were needed–prompting a CEO search that is now underway.

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