AMD founder and chairman steps down

Advanced Micro Devices founder and chairman Walter Sanders is to step down as chairman in April in favour of president and chief...

Advanced Micro Devices founder and chairman Walter Sanders is to step down as chairman in April in favour of president and chief executive officer Hector Ruiz.

Sanders will become chairman emeritus. The move is part of a planned succession, said Robert Palmer, lead independent director of AMD's board.

AMD was founded in 1969 by Sanders and seven others. He was CEO until 2002, when he retired from that position but remained as chairman of the board.

During Sanders' tenure as chairman, AMD grew from a company that redesigned other companies' products to run faster into the most consistent thorn in rival Intel's side during the 1990s. AMD has carved out a share of the market for desktop processors, and is now gaining momentum on the server side with its Opteron processor.

Ruiz joined AMD in 2000 as president and chief operating officer. He took over as CEO in 2002, and oversaw the introduction of AMD's eighth-generation Opteron and Athlon 64 processors, as well as the creation of its Fasl flash memory joint venture with Fujitsu.

The company's financial picture has greatly improved from that of recent years. AMD suffered nine straight quarters of losses before the fourth quarter of 2003, when it recorded a $43m profit on improved revenue.

Ruiz is technically chairman-elect until his nomination is approved by AMD's shareholders in April. Sanders will remain on the board as chairman emeritus, and will continue to play a role in AMD's future.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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