Earlier today, Real Networks announced that it was replacing nine-month CEO Thomas Nielsen with company chairman and founder Rob Glaser. The company has made it clear that Glaser is only serving in an interim role while the company looks for a new CEO, and Glaser has said the same.
But PandoDaily has learned that there’s much more going on behind the scenes than a simple CEO search.
According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Glaser was pushing to become the permanent CEO of the company but wasn’t able to become anything more than interim CEO. Apparently Glaser is not a popular candidate with some of the larger institutional investors.
One source says Glaser’s eye is still very much on the prize, and that he is using the interim role to prove himself.
Glaser seems to contradict this, though, as he posted a note to Facebook which was sent to all Real employees, stating:
I’m not a candidate for permanent CEO. Because of personal and other professional responsibilities, I can’t sign up to be permanent CEO. Having said that, while iCEO, I can promise you that I will give 100%.
But Glaser certainly wouldn’t be the first interim CEO to change his mind. Indeed, the title of “iCEO” is reminiscent of another interim CEO that went on to run Apple for over 10 years. Regardless, of whether it’s permanent or interim, he plans to leave his mark. Glaser has big plans for reinventing the future of the company, including making the company cashflow-positive, and by restructuring the company, say our sources.
Part of Glaser’s plans for the future include changing the focus of Real. Instead of focusing on gaming, as the company has been for now, the company is looking into the possibility of spinning off its gaming division into a standalone company. The new company would likely be run by Matt Hulett, the current VP of Gaming at the company, who is in good standing with Glaser. This would cut into Real’s earnings quite a bit, but would also remove a big part of the distractions inside the company.
The plans aren’t confirmed yet, and the company is open to new ideas, but according to one source familiar with the situation, Glaser will likely want to move quickly and change the focus of the company in short order before he is forced to find a new CEO.
As a part of this change, the company is also looking to restructure itself and reorganize itself for the future. The plans aren’t firm yet, and it’s not clear if Glaser will continue pushing the entire plan forward as he starts leading the company, but some of the ideas being considered include downsizing, layoffs, and reorganizing with a new core team, focused on consumer applications.
Part of the reorganization is said to include acquiring a number of smaller startups to build out the company’s core team, and to create a number of consumer-facing applications. There is also the possibility of pushing into the mobile space, which would make sense, as Glaser had stated when he originally left Real and joined Accel Partners, that he would be focusing on mobile applications and social-media. He followed up on this with investments in Summify, and Qwilt, and by co-founding Sidecar.
The company declined to comment on this story.