Founder and CEO Ryan Petersen is out at OCZ

OCZ founder and CEO Ryan Petersen has resigned from the company.

In the official press release, Petersen is thanked for his contributions to the DRAM and SSD industries by OCZ’s Lead Director, Adam Epstein. Petersen doesn’t give an explanation for his exit, but Bright Side of News suggests he was ousted by the board for OCZ’s “recent missteps.” A rumored acquisition by Seagate is said to have fallen through, and OCZ’s financial performance has been less than stellar lately. Perhaps OCZ’s numerous failed ventures factored into Petersen’s exit, as well.

Petersen started OCZ a decade ago and has been CEO since day one. The company had humble beginnings catering to enthusiasts with fancy memory and has since become one of the biggest makers of solid-state drives, including those targeting enterprise customers. Along the way, OCZ has dabbled in graphics cards, coolers, peripherals, and even complete systems. None of those ventures stuck, and DRAM isn’t even a part of the firm’s current business, which consists of SSDs, PSUs, and the odd thumb drive. SSDs make up the overwhelming majority of the company’s revenue now.

Executive Vice President Alex Mei has been named OCZ’s interim CEO. He’s been with the company since 2004, just two years after its inception.

Comments closed
    • donotpush
    • 7 years ago

    Hmmmmmm…..it does not look like many people here are aware that:
    PCP&C has never manufactured one power supply (and the same can be said for OCZ), they just slapped their stickers on them, all the power supplies were and are manufactured by Taiwanese/Chinese makers….and not really of very high quality (IMHO).
    The memory sold by OCZ, on the other hand…were manufactured by, let’s just say, a T1 Korean manufacturer….just my $ 0.2.
    OCZ was and still is a “marketing machine” and a master in pulling wool over our eyes.
    Naw naw naw…where is OCZ heading?……DOWN…
    Very few of OCZ execs are worth of the titles and responsibilities they have (check their employment
    history…duh….), it takes more than : but he/she is a nice person” to hold the helm of a department, let alone a company.
    OCZ really needs a major overall…….Vlad should pay a visit……and make sure some heads will roll….for the sake of the investors…:-)

    • ludi
    • 7 years ago

    Am I the only person here who remembers that “OCZ” was originally a label on a questionable gray-market DRAM assembly lab that was apparently being run out of a low-rent strip mall storefront?

    Petersen’s greatest accomplishment was taking over the brand rights and then making people forget about that. In fact OCZ’s DRAM products were top-rate for a few years, before the prices cratered again and they gave up those product lines.

    Lately, though, it’s not clear what the company’s long-term strategy is, which is presumably why Petersen got booted — he must have run out of good ideas.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 7 years ago

      No, you are not. I actually bought some of their RAM back in the day and… let’s say it’d be hard for me to forget how bad it was. It was an achievement they ever reached the point where people were mentioning them in the same breath as Intel in SSD’s. An achievement and proof positive that the market was devoid of major players.

      Now, though, there’s just no reason whatsoever to ever, EVER go OCZ. Ever. Hell, if Seagate had bought them, I’d have avoided Seagate. Well, more than I already do.

      • Forge
      • 7 years ago

      Ehhh, Ryan Peterson never “took over” the brand. You, like the majority, seem to have gotten lost in Ryan’s identity shell games. Ryan Peterson was the sole original proprietor of “OverClockerZ Store”, aka OCZ, which started off cherry-picking and selling from a batch of Dresden-made copper interconnect Socket A Athlon 750-800s that would do 1GHz+. He later moved up into relabeling, then repackaging, and later still making RAM. He used the profits from each product line to finance the next, and made quite a few lucky/shrewd choices that built OCZ.

      What really baffles me is how this paper company managed to buy out PCP&C? Were they really that broke?

      • Jon L
      • 7 years ago

      No you’re not. They were located at 3287 Willowcreek Road in Portage, Indiana (and I think an even more humble location in Lake Station, Indiana before that). When OCZ incorporated in Indiana in 2002, they used 1618 Beverly Road as a corporate address. It’s an abandoned building that looks like it was once a church or schoolhouse.

    • tfp
    • 7 years ago

    Interim CEO, been there for 9 years? Yeah he’ll be gone shortly.

      • Compton
      • 7 years ago

      Maybe, but I met him (Alex Mei) at the Flash Memory Summit and he seems like a cool dude with a good head on his shoulders.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Perhaps he can find a position at AMD…

    • Forge
    • 7 years ago

    I feel a correction is needed: OCZ did not start out making memory. OCZ started out as a seller of ‘pretested’ overclocked Athlons. Ryan used the money from that “operation” to bankroll his later ventures, particularly relabelling/self-branding RAM, later making RAM.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    The real issue with OCZ is not the fact they’re making SSD’s or flash drives, but their lack of QA. Too many times you’d be wiping your OS drive of all data to update to some utterly essential and required firmware update. Then there’d be some bug they didn’t expect and you’d do it all over again.

    And while other makers had similar problems, OCZ seemed to have it happen with every drive model with poor instructions and tools to aid in doing that.

      • Rza79
      • 7 years ago

      I had 8 DOA OCZ SSD’s this summer alone. Pretty ridiculous. Never had a DOA SSD from any other brand. OCZ’s quality control is non-existent. Not just their SSD’s, their memory was POS too.

        • Johnny5
        • 7 years ago

        8 of how many?

        • Compton
        • 7 years ago

        I don’t know… 8 DOAs? The chances of that happening are so minuscule as to not be worth mentioning. The data available on failure rates, while incomplete, suggests that a few OCZ products have failure rates over 6 months in excess of 13%, but getting 8 in one summer? Unless you’re going through hundreds of them, that seems…. questionable. That 13% is for the cheaper SATA II Octanes which had terrible flash, and includes product returns as well as drives that were DOA.

          • Rza79
          • 7 years ago

          No that’s the thing. I had these 8 DOA’s from like 22-24 of them. 4 of these are Petrol drives that arrived completely dead and 4 Agility’s that had SMART errors from the first second I booted the machine and tested the drive. These were all 60/64GB Petrol and Agility drives for use with Intel’s SRT. In the same period I had no broken Corsair Force 3, m4, Samsung 830, Intel 330 and Kingston V200 (not V+200) drives. Maybe the Vertex3/4 drives get more quality control but I don’t think the cheap models should be this bad. Since the beginning of september i’m only using V200 drives because of their OK performance but very low price. No broken one yet but i’ve had less than 5 broken products from Kingston in the last 10 years so yeah …

            • TO11MTM
            • 7 years ago

            Petrols were found to for some time use non top grade NAND. Some combination of this and the Shite indilinx firmware resulted in a looooot of problems.

            In any case, I don’t think there’s been an analysis that has been statistically sound enough. I mean, I could go ahead and quote my anecdotal experiences:

            OCZ Petrol 120G <– In a tablet, Had problems out the gate. SSD Toolbox Confirmed, Support was easy to deal with. I didn’t even ask and they gave me an Octane instead. No issues with the Octane so far.

            OCZ Agility 2 120G <– Ex’s Laptop. Still working lovely, or so I’ll assume.

            OCZ Agility 3 120G <– Friend’s CrApple C2D MBP (Yes, no trim support, oh well.) Seems OK

            OCZ Agility 2 120G <– Father’s PC. Died in a week. They didn’t have a replacement in stock so we took a store credit and I threw him the kingston.

            OCZ Vertex 2 240G <– Used to be in Personal Laptop. No problems. at one point I had bizzare lockups but it turned out it was lovely optimus drivers and not the SSD. Yay for low level IO Errors. Now in desktop and happy

            OCZ Agility 3 240G <– Desktop. No problems.

            OCZ Agility 3 240G <– Now in personal laptop. Seems lovely.

            OCZ Agility 3 60GB <– Windows 8 USB Boot. Works good in a 2.5 USB3 enclosure.

            Kingston V+ 128GB <– Used to be in my netbook, my first SSD. Still running in my dad’s PC.

            Kingston V+ 64GB <– For a project PC. Works fine.

            OCZ Onyx 64GB <– Was a boot drive. Did have random lockups on my AMD machine, but seemed fine on an Intel. Currently a swap drive in another Intel machine with no issues. Never did update the firmware… (Yes, I know Swap will kill the drive faster. Not particularly worried.)

            AData SF1222 64GB <–Random ‘disappearing’ problems. Gotta update firmware. Sitting in a box waiting.

            Intel x25-m 120GB <– Boot Drive on my machine. So damn reliable… God I wish they would have been able to keep making these properly. Shame the 300 series didn’t do so good. This and the toshiba based Kingston are admittedly the only drives I would trust my life with. (That said, the only hard drive brand I used to trust with my life was Samsung… so I’m a bit screwed now with the Seagate Acquisition.)

            So as you can see, I’ve had a pretty good run with OCZ Products. But I’m aware that’s not indicative of a trend as it’s a large sample size for a single user, but the user size is 1.

            I’d really like it if we could have some better surveying of this to really know better, but it’s hard to do that. A lot of OCZ purchases (all the ones I know of anyway,) have been Special deals and as a result they probably do more volume than other mfgs…

        • Farting Bob
        • 7 years ago

        Why did you keep on buying from them if you have had a 30% failure rate?

          • Rza79
          • 7 years ago

          Well i’ve stopped buying them already but the reason was that during the summer months OCZ had a price advantage.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    Turns out they actually fired him 3 years ago, but it took that long for them to get the TRIM command working to zero out his bits in the flash.

      • tay
      • 7 years ago

      Replying so this is ttt

      • JohnC
      • 7 years ago

      Nice one!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      They “fixed the glitch” /OfficeSpace

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 7 years ago

      Trim doesn’t zero the bits.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        The TRIM command lets the OS tell the flash controller what can be wiped and returned to an unused state. If unused is no charge, then it does effectively zero it out.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          I like how nobody’s actually correcting me, they’re just using the thumbs down.

            • cynan
            • 7 years ago

            From Wikipedia:

            [i<]The TRIM command is designed to enable the operating system to notify the SSD of which pages of data are now invalid due to erases by the user or operating system itself. During a delete operation the OS will not only mark the sectors as free for new data, but it will also [b<]send a TRIM command to the SSD with the associated LBAs to be marked as no longer valid. After that point the SSD knows not to relocate the data from those LBAs during garbage collection. This will result in fewer writes to the flash[/b<], reducing write amplification and increasing drive life. Different SSDs will act on the TRIM command somewhat differently so the final performance can also be different between different SSDs [/i<] My basic understanding is that TRIM enables more efficient garbage collection by essentially bypassing the need to allocate sectors for data that has been marked as "deleted" by the OS, but still contain the data. Basically you have two overlapping allocation tables. The one built into the OS, and the Logical Block Addresses kept track of by the SSD controller. TRIM sort of helps these two play nice during garbage collection; it allows the OS to tell the SSD controller which bits it no longer needs to keep track of. Secure erasing or "zeroing" is something different wherein all sectors on the drive are returned to an original factory state - something that, as far as I know, does not occur during regular garbage collection and requires a special low-level formatting.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            There ya go. Someone did it. Thank you.

            So maybe the joke should be it took them 3 years to get a working TRIM command so that he’d be taken out with the garbage?

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    This makes me sad. OCZ was his baby, and it was taken away from him.

    Yet another example of how shareholder greed destroys lives

      • dmjifn
      • 7 years ago

      You know, my first reaction was also that it’s sad to see somebody lose their baby like that… except I find some fault him for going public in the first place!

        • blastdoor
        • 7 years ago

        Bingo! You can’t sell your company and own it too. It’s like selling your car and then complaining that the new owner won’t let you drive it.

          • phileasfogg
          • 7 years ago

          Never were truer words spoken/written.

    • shank15217
    • 7 years ago

    Its because seagate said so..

    • jwilliams
    • 7 years ago

    Good riddance. I wonder if they will be able to find a new CEO who can start a corporate culture of quality instead of marketing tricks, dishonesty, and shoddy products.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 7 years ago

      (WARNING: OFF TOPIC)

      Anyone who uses a term like “culture of quality” is already gobbling up the “marketing tricks and dishonesty” in shovel fulls. It’s BS business speak meant to keep the peons in check, but ends up being a laughable hypocrisy when you try to apply it to the management or actual actions of the company themselves, especially publicly traded ones.

      Here are some examples:
      [url<]http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/mission.html[/url<] [quote<] Gameplay First, Commit To Quality, Every Voice Matters [/quote<] (Diablo 3, nuff said) [url<]http://www3.gehealthcare.com/en/About_Us[/url<] [quote<] Our "healthymagination" vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on [u<]reducing costs[/u<], increasing access and improving quality around the world. [/quote<] (you'd have to work in the healthcare field to really get this one) [url<]http://www.bp.com/extendedsectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9039352&contentId=7072114[/url<] (that whole gulf thing, ps it's still messed up, the news just doesn't report it) (WARNING: OFF TOPIC)

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        Anyone who points out Corporate BS-speak deserves an up-thumb.

        • jwilliams
        • 7 years ago

        Your confusion stems from the fact that it is possible to talk about quality just as a marketing ploy, and some corporations are guilty of this.

        But true quality requires a commitment at every level of a company. At the highest levels, the management must insist upon it, and see that money is budgeted and people are hired to assure quality. The engineering team must be fully on board and must implement adequate qualification testing, statistical process controls, and production testing. The production workers must have the proper supervision and incentives to follow through with the quality procedures that are being used. If any links in the chain are absent, quality will not be assured. Manufacturing quality products really does require a top-to-bottom corporate culture of quality.

      • Forge
      • 7 years ago

      I’d suggest the PCP&C folks, if he hadn’t fired them all one by one not long after buying the company. They had *quality* products. A shame what OCZ did with the name.

    • slaimus
    • 7 years ago

    I still remember the days when “overclockerz store” was closing and another company bought their name. Could never figure out why they wanted the OCZ brand, which had a pretty bad reputation at the time. Now it just plain does not make sense at all for an overclockerz branded SSD.

      • Forge
      • 7 years ago

      You fell for that? That happened half a dozen times, with Ryan Peterson buying out Ryan Peterson’s interests, and then promptly declaring new ownership and all previous obligations (rebates, warranties, etc) null and void.

    • tootercomputer
    • 7 years ago

    You never know, maybe he sexually harassed someone. Who knows.

    OCZ had an up and down history. Some people just hated the company early on when they sold RAM. They had a bad rep at one point for rebates. I had some of their ram and it was fine. But my first SSD was an OCZ and it constantly BSODed on me. That was a year ago.

    But good luck to him. It seems like he is a true geek at heart.

      • Forge
      • 7 years ago

      He’s not a geek, he’s a tech-centric Bro. I imagine Halo and Madden top his list for “great games”.

    • shank15217
    • 7 years ago

    I don’t get it, what were his mis-steps? He dabbled in all kinds of things in his 10 years, Its part of his strategy. It seems like business is becoming more about having a sure thing rather than taking risks. Too much analytics, opinion groups, data mining is mudding the waters, what happened to taking real risks?

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]what happened to taking real risks?[/quote<] We don't want it taken with our freakin' data.

        • shank15217
        • 7 years ago

        then you might want to stop using hard drives too

          • Joe Miller
          • 7 years ago

          Hard drives are quite reliable. OCZ SSDs on the other hand …

            • TheEmrys
            • 7 years ago

            You obviously don’t remember the IBM Deathstars.

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            I do. I had a pair in RAID0.

            Talk about a “bad idea”

        • Visigoth
        • 7 years ago

        Who’s “we”? :-/

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 7 years ago

      Seems likely he musta been the stumbling block for a Seagate purchase and the board is pissed that he ruined that deal. So they’re punishing him.

      The reality is that OCZ’s fortunes are not doing so hot now. Everyone’s on their crap, lots of people have or know people who have horror stories of owning an OCZ drive. Plus, it’s not a Intel or OCZ Indilinx world to get TRIM. Now you can go with reputable manufacturers instead with designs that aren’t buggy by design (ie., Sandforce).

      As soon as you could buy a SSD from Samsung that’s near the high end for a reasonable price, well that was game over for OCZ. They have no market. Now all they can do is trim prices, inch ever so slightly closer to the sun (cost to manufacture the drives), and try to compete on price against competitors who have the manufacturing capability to put prices lower than they can. Hell, Samsung makes so much of its drives (from the flash to the controller to the device, etc) you just know they’re capable of destroying OCZ on the pricing front. And they’re already destroying them everywhere else.

      How low can OCZ go? How long before they lose any market they had in SSD’s? And what else do they have now that they’ve left memory, completely trashed the PC Power & Cooling rep of years ago to help firm up any chance of them ever keeping up with Seasonic or Corsair in PSU’s, and lost the SSD market?

      USB flash drives? Dime a dozen. No money there.

      They’ve got no business plan and they’ve got no future. They’re going to be a patent warehouse for cheap when they sell to Hynix or Samsung or Plextor. Maybe Corsair’ll like the idea of getting some of those PC Power & Cooling staff (the ones that are left), the branding, or their own SSD controller in house. But they’ll be bought for the Indilinx patents (and possibly the staff), but that’s it. It certainly won’t be for their products or their own brand.

      Because OCZ’s brand sucks again. They rose from the horrors of the memory crap they started out with only to do the same thing with SSD’s. Once a crap peddler, always a crap peddler.

      • cynan
      • 7 years ago

      Maybe they found some incriminating documents singling him out as being the one responsible for all of those shady business practices OCZ has been known for over the years.

      So far we have:
      1) Closing and then buying/opening new companies to avoid warranty obligations
      2) MIR fiascoes
      3) Advertising one type of flash chip/performance spec for a USB flash device and then switching in cheaper, slower flash chips later on in the product’s life span without declaring it.
      4) Allegations of them cooking their books as [url=http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Bears-slam-OCZ-fraud-optmonster-1006776613.html<]reported here[/url<] 5) Most recently, implying that their new line of SSDs uses some proprietary in house Indilinx controller, when in actuality it uses a common Marvell controller with some slightly tweaked firmware. This is not so bad in itself, but the fact that they admitted it only after they were called out on it seems a bit shady. (#5 seems to be the opposite to what Apple is doing with the A6 CPU in the iPhone 5. They seem to have made considerable design changes to the standard ARM package, but are keeping mum). What have I missed?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Cue OCZ haters in 3, 2, 1…

    Still makes me wonder how a company founder of a relatively small company like OCZ even lets himself get into a position where he can be fired.

    (oh…first x2)

      • shaq_mobile
      • 7 years ago

      I bought some OCZ ram and i think a PSU even, about 6 years ago. Both components seem to do just great. Though I’ve heard they aren’t amazing these days, meh.

      • jibkat
      • 7 years ago

      Ask Steve Jobs in 1985

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      He decided to get a bigger paycheck rather than more control.

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      Really? You’ve never seen companies that go public lose their founders? It happens [i<]quite a bit[/i<]. Just because you can manage a small company through growth doesn't mean you can grow shareholder value in perpetuity well. What is amusing is these companies also frequently hire the founders [b<]back[/b<] after the next few CEOs screw up. As if founding a company is magic for running it past public ownership/scrutiny.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        I said I “wonder how a company founder of a relatively small company like OCZ even lets himself get into a position where he can be fired” not that I haven’t seen it before. Basically, I’m saying that if I was ever in such a position I’d Zuckerberg it up and make damn well the company was structured so I maintained control.

          • thesmileman
          • 7 years ago

          Then you don’t undestand how small companies start. Virtually no one will give you money without some way of getting rid of you if you screw up or they simply don’t like the direction you are going. People with money want control and they rarely give it up unless the payoff is huge.

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