Despite reports, AMD's Ruiz didn't get a raise this year

— 6:00 AM on December 18, 2007

Last Thursday, as Hector Ruiz promised a brighter future for AMD at the company's 2007 analyst day presentation, reports arose that the AMD CEO had received a raise. Considering AMD's precarious financial situation after four quarters of heavy losses and the fact that Ruiz is already the highest paid CEO in the semiconductor industry, those reports drew understandable ire from the press. However, AMD has disavowed the reports, telling CNet that Ruiz did not in fact receive a raise this year.

It turns out that a senior member of AMD's public relations staff erred when confirming Thursday afternoon--prior to publishing this report--that Hector was given a raise this week. The raise in question actually came last year, and the $1,046,358 in the proxy statement reflected that Hector spent part of 2006 making $950,000, and part of 2006 making $1,124,000. Hector's annual salary rate has changed slightly since then, but by just $24,000 or so to reflect a different accounting treatment of a car expense.

The explanation, albeit convoluted, does make sense: Ruiz got a raise in mid-2006, back when AMD enjoyed high margins, meaty net income, and it was about to buy ATI and start selling chips to Dell. His 2006 salary was roughly half pre-raise and half post-raise, while his 2007 salary will be almost all post-raise (±$24,000). Still, as CNet points out, Ruiz remains the highest-paid CEO in the semiconductor business.

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