Dave Orton to leave AMD

Written by Tim Smalley

July 10, 2007 | 19:39

Tags: #business #ceo #coo #dave #executive #future #leaving #media #orton #president #vice #visual

Companies: #amd #ati

AMD has announced that the former president and CEO of ATI, Dave Orton, will step down as executive vice president of AMD's Visual Media Business at the end of July.

Things haven't been going particularly well for AMD in recent times and it's fair to say that the recent release of the company's next-generation DirectX 10 hardware has been a little disappointing thus far.

Orton said that he is leaving AMD with "mixed feelings", but is very optimistic about AMD's future.

He joined ATI in April 2000 as chief operating officer and was then promoted to chief executive officer in June 2004. He was also one of the key architects behind the integration of AMD and ATI, the deal that gave the technology industry a much needed shake up last October.

To replace Orton, Adrian Hartog, senior vice president and general manager of AMD's Consumer Electronics Group, and Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of AMD's Graphics Products Group, will now report directly to the office of the CEO. This, AMD says, will help "ensure the ongoing strategic attention and focus for these important businesses."

When Orton departs, he will have been a part of the new AMD for just over nine months. It's hard to come to terms with why Orton has chosen to leave the 'new AMD', but there could be several reasons. I've been running this through my head for a few hours and there are a few things that came up as possible outside of the obvious "internal fallout" or "personal" reasons.

Could Orton have wanted to leave ATI long before the AMD merger was even thought of? It would certainly go a ways explain why he will leave AMD such a short time after completing the merger. ATI had a reputation of creating great products, but at the same time had a reputation for not executing roadmaps - it's one of the reasons many cited for the original buyout.

Orton maybe felt that the AMD buyout was the only realistic way ATI could survive in the long run, because it needed someone to help execute its roadmaps more stringently. Could he have decided that there wasn't anyone that would be up to the job internally, which is why he outsourced help from AMD?

I'm certainly puzzled by his departure and I'm sure the nay-sayers will say this is a bad thing for AMD, but I don't think that is quite true. Of course, Orton's drive, passion and vision will be missed by AMD, but with the infrastructure that he has helped to install in the time since the merger, I believe AMD will continue to move forwards.

Of course, that's only my opinion and I'm keen to hear your own thoughts in the forums.
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