OCZ Faces Question of Sale Versus Relaunch Following CEO's Resignation

Paul Lilly

There's been quite the shakeup in Silicon Valley this week. After learning that AMD's CFO Thomas Seifert has resigned to pursue other opportunities, we now find out that OCZ Technology's head honcho and founder, Ryan Petersen, has stepped down as CEO, effective immediately. Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Alex Mei, is taking Petersen's place on an interim basis, but the question OCZ faces is whether it would be better off finding new management or selling its operations.

OCZ's share price has fallen nearly 6 percent to around $4.16 following news of Petersen's departure, and 33 percent so far this year. There's been chatter that OCZ is having trouble securing enough NAND flash memory chips for its storage and memory products.

"Our sense is, given the numerous challenges still facing the company, that an organized sale would be an easier route for investors and employees alike," Sterne Agee analysts Alex Kurtz and Amelia Harris wrote in a note.

The circumstances of Petersen's departure aren't yet known at this time, though Kurtz and Harris believe it's likely due to to the recent revenue miss along with ongoing frustrations related to securing a NAND deal. Such things are now Mr. Mei's problem.

Alex Mei, OCZ's interim CEO

"I'm honored that the Board has selected me to lead OCZ on an interim basis. We have dedicated and talented employees, extremely competitive technology, and product roadmaps that we believe will enable us to continue to provide industry-leading solid state storage solutions to our growing customer base," Mr. Mei said in a statement. "As one of the longest tenured employees, I've been fortunate to have had a front-row seat to what OCZ's amazing employees are capable of achieving for nearly a decade. I'm confident that our team will continue to execute the core strategies we've previously communicated to investors."

OCZ has been a long-time player in the component business. In the early days, OCZ made a name for itself selling enthusiast grade RAM. In 2011, OCZ ditched the DRAM market to focus on the more profitable solid state drive sector.

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