RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser Steps Down

1/13/10Follow @gthuang

Rob Glaser, the founder and chief executive of Seattle-based RealNetworks, has stepped down, according to a company statement. Glaser will remain chairman of the board.

“After nearly 16 years, I’ve decided it’s time for me to step away from day-to-day operations,” Glaser said in a statement. “I’m grateful to all of our stakeholders—customers, partners, shareholders, and most of all, employees—for the support and commitment they’ve given to RealNetworks. I remain committed to the company and look forward to continuing to serve in my capacity as board chairman.” (See Glaser’s farewell note to Real’s employees here, from the Seattle Times.)

Real’s board of directors appointed Robert Kimball as president and acting CEO, and new board member. Kimball joined RealNetworks in 1999 and was most recently the company’s general counsel and executive vice president of corporate development. Glaser said a formal search process for a permanent CEO will begin soon.

The move seems to be part of a broader shakeup of the senior leadership team at Real (NASDAQ: RNWK). Yesterday, the company reported in an SEC filing that chief operating officer John Giamatteo will resign as of April 2. Giamatteo was also president of the company’s technology products and services division. The news was reported by PaidContent, TechFlash, and other outlets.

In November, RealNetworks laid off 4 percent of its worldwide staff (about 70 employees) as a result of the economic recession and cost-cutting measures. The company reported a small profit for the third quarter of last year, its first profitable quarter since the beginning of 2008.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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