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Mike Mulica
Mike Mulica

RealNetworks has hired Mike Mulica, the former CEO of mobile pioneer Openwave, as its new president of worldwide sales and business development, bolstering its executive ranks as the company tries to turn itself around under founder Rob Glaser.

The Seattle-based company also said it will be combining the management of its two largest divisions, the Mobile Entertainment and RealPlayer groups, and expanding the role of executive Max Pellegrini to oversee both product lines. Pellegrini, currently president of the Mobile Entertainment Division, will become president of products and marketing under the new structure.

Glaser, meanwhile, is redefining the word “interim” as the Seattle-based company’s interim CEO — now approaching two years in that role. RealNetworks gave no indication of the status of its permanent CEO search as part of the announcement today, although the hiring of Mulica could resemble a form of succession planning.

“Mike is a world-class executive who has built and run major mobile internet businesses at a series of leading globally focused public and venture-backed companies,” said Glaser in a statement. “Mike’s depth in the mobile business ecosystem is unsurpassed in the industry, and I’m sure he will have a very significant impact as we take Real’s turnaround into its next phase.”

Max Pellegrini
Max Pellegrini

Mulica is also a board member at Rhapsody, the subscription music service that was spun off by RealNetworks, which remains an investor in the company.

Both Mulica and Pellegrini will report to Glaser under RealNetworks’ new structure. The company said the appointments do not affect the rest of its senior leadership team or its financial reporting structure for the current year. No departures or layoffs are expected.

RealNetworks has been aiming to revitalize itself with the help of new product launches. RealPlayer Cloud, the company’s effort to bring one of its longstanding brands into a new era, has surpassed 2 million users. RealNetworks also brought its Listen ringback tone service into the U.S. in the first quarter, through a partnership with T-Mobile.

The company reported a net loss of $7.8 million for the first quarter, an improvement over the $11.7 million loss posted by the company in the first quarter last year. However, each of its three major divisions ran at an operating loss for the quarter, including two — RealPlayer and Mobile Entertainment — that had posted operating profits in the same quarter a year ago.

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