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AMD CEO Dirk Meyer Resigns

In what AMD is describing as a “mutual decision,” chief executive officer Dirk Meyer has resigned from the company, effective immediately, and has launched a search for a new leader. In the meantime, AMD has appointed current vice president and CFO Thomas Seifert as interim CEO; in addition, AMD’s chairman Bruce Claflin will assume additional oversight responsibilities while the search for a new CEO is underway. CFO Seifert has asked not to be considered for the permanent CEO slot.

The move comes as a surprise after AMD wraps a successful week at this year’s CES show and is riding high on both new graphics and processor products: its Radeon HD line is well-positioned against rival Nvidia, and the company’s new low-power Fusion processors with high-end built-in graphics promise to pose a serious challenge to Intel’s Atom line.

AMD gave no reasons for Meyer’s departure save to say the move was a “mutual decision.”

“Dirk became CEO during difficult times,” said Claflin, in a statement. “However, the Board believes we have the opportunity to create increased shareholder value over time. This will require the company to have significant growth, establish market leadership, and generate superior financial returns. We believe a change in leadership at this time will accelerate the company’s ability to accomplish these objectives.”

In addition to stabilizing AMD’s engineering, R&D, and product linup, Meyer helped spinout Globalfoundries and got AMD’s new Fusion chips to market. Meyer also oversaw AMD’s 1009 $1.25 billion settlement with Intel that put an end to years of antitrust battles between the two companies.

Industry watchers speculate that the AMD board is keen to move the company into a growth phase, and believes that will require a leader with a deeper marketing background.