Phil Hester joined AMD in its heyday in 2005.  Three years later he has now resigned.  Hester was the CTO of AMD, and the company is claiming that they will not be replacing him with anyone.  While a company such as this really can’t survive without a CTO, likely his duties will be given over to another current management member.  Who that member will be?  Hard to say, as guys like Dirk are rather busy.

Phil Hester

AMD is truly at a historic lowpoint, and it seems that it is due to a bad combination of technology, competition, and perhaps some internal complacency.  Phil was brought in as CTO at AMD’s pinnacle, and he has presided over that position from that point to the low valley we now see the company.  Is he a fall guy?  Was it his decisions that led them on the road to here?  Or were there thoughts of cutting salaries of these upper management individuals, and he simply felt that it was not in his best interest to stay and take the cut?  Hard to say.  All that I know is that when a company is making money, everyone at the top are friends.  When a company is taking on water at a tremendous rate, then the upper management tends to do a lot of finger pointing around the room.  Perhaps Phil’s mistake was thinking that AMD could produce a complex quad core on 65 nm, and that has simply not been the ideal case so far?  Hindsight being 20/20, perhaps AMD should have focused on a much more efficient dual core that would more adequately compete with Intel’s Core 2, and that could be packaged together on one substrate using HT 3.0 to connect the cores?

Hester has yet to say what he will be doing next, but his leaving and not being replaced certainly will make payroll a whole lot happier.  Hopefully this means that several people who actually are doing the design work and building the products AMD needs to sell will get to keep their jobs due to the reduced overhead that Phil’s leaving entails.

Marketwatch story

Thanks to Randy for the head’s up.