Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

AMD Sales Chief Ghilardi Leaves

The perplexing reconstruction of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices continued today with the departure of its chief sales officer, Emilio Ghilardi.

The company announced the departure just after the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. CEO Rory Read will handle Ghilardi’s sales responsibilities in the interim while the search for a replacement gets underway.

Ghilardi (pictured) joined AMD in 2008 as senior VP and general manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa. The following year, he was promoted to chief sales officer.

Before AMD, he worked in Hewlett-Packard’s consumer group, running sales operations of PCs and printers in the EMEA region. And before that, he did the same thing for HP’s commercial business, also in EMEA. He joined HP in 1982, and served on the board of directors of HP Italy (I didn’t know there was such a thing!) from 2001 to 2008. Ghilardi holds a master’s degree in electronic engineering from Italy’s Politecnico di Torino.

It’s hard to know what kind of signal this move is intended to send for AMD. Last week, in a meeting with financial analysts, Read confounded the audience with statements that AMD — whose chips are fundamentally similar to those of Intel and use the same x86 technology — might pursue an “ambidextrous” strategy and incorporate technology used in chips from other companies. This has generally been interpreted as a hint that AMD might incorporate designs from the British chip outfit ARM Holdings in some future hybrid design.

ARM-based chips, as you probably know, are in most of the world’s smartphones and tablets, and for AMD to embrace that technology would be a huge shift in strategic thinking. And by huge, I mean Republicans-embracing-Socialism huge. It wasn’t so long ago that AMD was actively sponsoring a campaign to get x86 chips everywhere, including phones, though it obviously hasn’t worked out that way.

Since then, Read hasn’t really elaborated on what he meant, other than to say that future AMD chips might have a modular design that would allow bits of other types of chips, including an ARM core, to be added. Clearly some big changes are afoot at AMD.

AMD’s statement on the departure is below:

AMD Announces Departure of Emilio Ghilardi as Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer

AMD President and CEO Rory Read to Serve as Interim Chief Sales Officer

SUNNYVALE, CA–(Marketwire -02/07/12)- AMD (NYSE: AMD – News) today announced the departure of Emilio Ghilardi as senior vice president and chief sales officer, effective immediately. Rory Read, AMD president and chief executive officer, will serve as interim chief sales officer while the company actively seeks a replacement.

“I’d like to thank Emilio for his contributions to the business and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Read. “Developing relationships with our customers that are grounded in a foundation of trust through consistently delivering on our commitments is critical, and we are making progress toward that goal. AMD enters 2012 with significant momentum, and we are building upon that momentum by embracing the shifts occurring in the industry and marrying market needs with innovative technologies to become a consistent growth engine.”

Mr. Ghilardi joined AMD from Hewlett Packard in 2008.

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