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Talk of CEO Change Swirls at AMD

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Advanced Micro Devices (AMD - Get Report) released a new microprocessor in September, company executives, customers and industry analysts bustled about in the private screening room of Lucasfilm, which was used to celebrate the occasion.

In the front row of the theater, a pensive-looking Hector Ruiz sat in silence, impervious to both the festive atmosphere as well as the delay in getting the event started on time.

AMD's chief executive has demonstrated a similar composure as the company has hit rough waters recently, with its stock down 38% year to date. But that may be coming to an end.

With AMD's financial performance and share price slumping, talk of a management change is in the air.

Speculation has been heightened by recent events, including the exit of investor relations head Mike Hasse, and the September departure of sales chief Henri Richard .

Last week, President Dirk Meyer was appointed to the company's board.

Add it all up, and some believe the signs point to a possible change at the top, with Ruiz stepping down, and Meyer taking over.

So far, there have been no public calls among big shareholders or other parties for Ruiz to resign, like those that preceded recent CEO exits at Sprint Nextel and Yahoo.

But rumors are making the rounds among Wall Street trading desks.

Given AMD's challenges and the recent personnel moves, says Stifel Nicolaus analyst Cody Acree, "We have heard more talk that maybe this comes to a head in Ruiz's stepping aside."
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