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AMD Loses Sales Chief

AMD  on Wednesday announced the departure of Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Henri Richard, effective next month. No successor has been named yet. The sales and marketing organizations will report to the office of the CEO until a successor is named.

In announcing the departure, Richard hinted at a new direction but gave no details. "After 20 years in the PC industry – and five of the most professionally rewarding years here at AMD – I have decided to make a move to a different business segment, Mr. Richard said in a statement from AMD. "I am leaving AMD at a time when the company is in position to break the monopoly that plagues this industry. I am immensely proud of my contribution to AMD, and in particular, of the strong team I leave behind."

Rumors of Richard's departure first began to circulate on Hexus.net, a UK technology news site, and it was picked up by the Wall Street Journal, which said he had a new job opportunity.

Richard joined AMD in 2002 and had been known for getting the company media attention with his off-the-cuff, outspoken comments on competitors and the industry. This is the second major defection for AMD in as many months. Former ATI CEO Dave Orton left in July.

The departure has to be a blow to AMD, which has Barcelona all set for launch on September 10. But Mercury Research analyst Dean McCarron said if he was going to go, this is actually the best time for Richard to leave.

"This is an inflexion point on their path. You wouldn't want to be making big changes while they are ramping up for something like that. If you want to make any changes, you want to do it between major events," he told internetnews.com.

Still, McCarron acknowledges that Richard was an important figure. "He was an important architect of their sales strategy. His contribution there has been pretty meaningful. At the same time, he is one part of a larger company and they have plenty of people on which to draw upon," he said.