Acree, who rates AMD shares a buy, says the chatter appears to largely be emanating from the investor community at this point. According to one person knowledgeable about the situation, the transfer of power from the 61-year-old Ruiz to Meyer, 45, has been planned for some time. "Dirk has always been slotted for being the new CEO. That's been clear since his nomination as president and COO" in January 2006, says the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The question as to when that transition effectively takes place is really a matter of Hector's timing and the board's," the source says, professing to have no indication that the time frame of a move has been altered or accelerated due to the company's current travails. Short of a dramatic shake-up, an orderly changing of the guard would probably not occur until spring at the earliest. An AMD spokesperson said the company doesn't comment on rumors. Ruiz's original five-year employment contract as CEO expired in April, and now operates on a year-to-year basis. AMD's board renewed Ruiz's contract for a one-year period that expires on April 26, 2008, according to SEC filings. Ruiz, a veteran tech-industry manager who served stints at Motorola ( MOT) and Texas Instruments ( TXN) , has held the top job at AMD since 2002, taking over from iconic founder Jerry Sanders.