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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

July 30, 2014 at 4:05 PM

RealNetworks’ new boss same as the old boss

It’s hard to let go of your firstborn, especially when it’s struggling.

Just ask RealNetworks founder Rob Glaser, who re-upped for another term as chief executive of the company he started in 1994.

Glaser temporarily gave up the corner office in 2010 when the company was restructuring after a downward spiral. He relinquished the chief executive position but remained chairman.

Two years later, after Real churned through several potential replacements, Glaser took over again as interim chief executive. At the time, he said he wasn’t a candidate for the permanent job.

Today, Real announced that Glaser decided to drop the interim title and become Real’s permanent chief executive. He’ll continue guiding the streaming media pioneer’s ongoing reinvention into a provider of various media and mobile services.

“In the 2 years I’ve been interim CEO, we’ve made tremendous progress revitalizing Real’s leadership team and products,” he said in a release.

In the company’s next phase, he added, “we will both continue to deliver compelling products that consumers embrace, and also leverage the popularity of our products to re-establish the company’s financial success.”

There’s plenty of work to be done. Real lost $7.8 million on sales of $45.7 million in the quarter that ended March 31. Sales were down from $50.6 million the year before, but the loss narrowed from $11.7 million.

Glaser will be paid $600,000 per year, including $450,000 in cash, plus $150,000 worth of stock options. If he meets goals he can receive a bonus of up to $450,000 in cash. To mark his promotion back to his old job, the board also awarded Glaser $750,000 worth of stock.

Real’s stock has been flat to down in recent years. It closed at $8.78 the day Glaser returned as interim chief executive in 2012. Today, it closed at $7.84, up a half a percent.

 

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