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AMD sales chief steps down

Departing exec says AMD can still challenge Intel

AMD's sales chief Henri Richard will leave the company in September, an announcement which comes shortly after AMD reported its third straight quarterly loss. But the company said that Richard, chief sales and marketing officer, left of his own accord and on amicable terms.

Richard has led AMD's marketing efforts since 2002, spanning an era when the company won market share from rival Intel, acquired graphics card vendor ATI, entered a price war with Intel and - most recently - posted a series of deep financial losses.

"I am leaving at a time when the company is in position to break the monopoly that plagues this industry," Richard said, a reference to AMD's competition with market-leader Intel.

On July 19, AMD announced a net loss of $600m for its second quarter, following a loss of $611m for the first quarter and $574m for the fourth quarter of 2006. In an effort to balance those losses, AMD said in April that it planned to raise $2.2bn by selling its debt as convertible notes to institutional investors.

Richard's departure follows the exit of David Orton, the former chief executive of ATI who worked as an executive vice president at AMD for just nine months after the companies merged.

One of Richard's strengths at AMD was his ability to bring a global perspective to the company, according to notes on the AMD website. Prior to joining AMD, he led sales and marketing campaigns in the Asian, European and American markets as an executive with WebGain, Bell Microproducts and IBM.

Despite the loss of leadership, AMD will probably see no ill effects in its major product launch this year, the introduction of its Barcelona quad-core Opteron server chip, expected in September, one analyst said. "With that product being launched so soon, I don't see any near-term effect on their chip family," said Dean McCarron, an analyst with Mercury Research.

AMD's sales and marketing group will now report to the office of chairman and CEO Hector Ruiz, the company said.

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