Former Chip Exec Claims Anti-Arab Discrimination

April 22, 2002 ( - A former senior executive at Advanced Micro Devices has sued his former employer, alleging he was forced out after the September 11 attacks because he is Arab and a Muslim.

Walid Maghribi, formerly a president of AMD’s memory group, made the allegations in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, according to Reuters. He charged that AMD Chairman and Chief Executive Jerry Sanders and President Hector Ruiz were responsible for wrecking his career in the months following the attacks.

AMD denied the charges and said it will fight the suit vigorously.

Maghribi had worked at AMD for 16 years and was among its five most highly paid executives, receiving more than $1.5 million in salary and bonus last year, according to the Reuters report, citing an AMD spokesperson.

‘Fall’ Meeting

Among other allegations in the suit, Maghribi claimed his troubles began at an October meeting with company founder Jerry Sanders and other top executives and directors during which the subject of the September 11 attacks was brought up.  According to the San Jose Mercury News, the suit claims that Sanders was startled to discover that Maghribi, who is Lebanese-born, was a Muslim, at one point allegedly saying to him, ‘You are not an Arab, right?’

Maghribi replied that, in fact, he was Arab and Muslim, and that Lebanon is an Arab country. Sanders allegedly replied: ‘No, it is not. You are not an Arab!’

The suit contends that Sanders immediately began to treat Maghribi poorly after the meeting.

Within months, the suit contends, Maghribi went from one of AMD’s leaders to an outcast, and he quit because of the hostile environment.  AMD says that when Maghribi notified the company of his intention to leave he made no mention of racial or religious discrimination.

Maghribi’s suit seeks unspecified damages.