AMD's Ruiz 'blew it' in 2007, but still gets raise

Despite AMD's dismal performance in 2007, CEO Ruiz will get a raise.

AMD chairman and CEO, Hector Ruiz, acknowledged last week that 2007 was a bad year for his company, but that didn't stop AMD's board of directors from raising his salary anyway.

"We blew it and we're very humbled by it and we learned from it and we're not going to do it again," Ruiz told financial analysts in New York.

AMD has struggled this year, largely due to technical problems that repeatedly delayed the widespread availability of its Quad-Core Opteron chip, known as Barcelona. As a result, the company saw its financial losses mount -- $US1.6 billion during the first nine months of this year -- while incurring $3.7 billion in long-term debt to help keep the company's operations running.

The announcement Wednesday that AMD plans to take an as-yet unspecified charge for impaired goodwill from its $US5.4 billion acquisition of ATI -- recognition that the graphics-chip vendor is worth less than AMD paid for it last year -- only added to the company's financial woes and dimmed investor enthusiasm. AMD's share price closed at $8.84 Thursday, down 56 per cent from a year ago.

However, those issues will not affect Ruiz's base salary, which has been increased, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission released Thursday, the same day that Ruiz apologised for the company's dismal performance.

That filing, which contained a copy of Ruiz's amended [employment agreement], shows AMD raised his annual base salary by 7.4 per cent to US$1,124,000. The amended agreement is dated Dec. 7.

In 2006, Ruiz received a [base salary] of $1,046,358, while stock awards and other forms of compensation raised his total compensation for the year to $12,848,435.

Ruiz's 2006 compensation was significantly higher than Intel CEO and president, Paul Otellini, who took home a [salary] of $700,000 in 2006. Other awards raised Otellini's total compensation in 2006 to $9,806,400.

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