More than two years after returning as the interim CEO of RealNetworks, founder Rob Glaser was named the company’s permanent chief executive this afternoon — shedding the “interim” title and officially reclaiming the position that he held for more than 15 years.
The decision by the RealNetworks board, announced this afternoon, speaks in part to the difficulty the Seattle media company has had in finding a successor to lead the company.
When returning as interim CEO in July 2012, after the departure of two chief executives, Glaser had said he wasn’t a candidate for the permanent position.
RealNetworks, a pioneer of online media, has struggled to find traction and profits in recent years, but as part of the announcement today, the company said that its RealPlayer Cloud video-sharing technology has surpassed 5 million users.
Here’s the full news release announcing the appointment.
REALNETWORKS APPOINTS ROB GLASER TO BE PERMANENT CEO
RealPlayer Cloud Passes 5 Million Registered Users in 9 Months
SEATTLE, July 30, 2014 – RealNetworks, Inc. (NASDAQ: RNWK) today announced that Rob Glaser – who founded the company in 1994 – has been appointed permanent CEO of the global digital media technology company.
“Rob is the best person to complete Real’s turnaround and to lead the company into the future,” said Dominique Trempont, lead independent director of the RealNetworks Board. “The Board greatly respects his leadership, vision, and the excellence of the team Rob has assembled.”
“I’m honored to be named Real’s CEO,” Glaser said. “In the 2 years I’ve been interim CEO, we’ve made tremendous progress revitalizing Real’s leadership team and products. We’ve introduced innovative and exciting new products like RealPlayer® Cloud, LISTEN™ and the upcoming Slingo® Adventure. We’ve also made great progress in revitalizing Rhapsody, in partnership with Columbus Nova and Rhapsody’s terrific management team. In this next phase, 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.”
RealNetworks also announced today that RealPlayer Cloud has more than 5 million registered users, up from 2 million just 3 months ago. RealPlayer Cloud users, in the aggregate, now upload more than 4.5 terabytes of content each day. RealPlayer Cloud is now available on 11 consumer platforms, including most recently Amazon’s new Fire phone, and in 9 languages, most recently Korean and Traditional Chinese.
Yesterday, Rhapsody International – in which RealNetworks holds a 45 percent equity stake – announced it now has more than 2 million paying subscribers, up from 1.7 million just 3 months ago. Last month, Rhapsody introduced Rhapsody unRadio, a breakthrough radio-based service, in partnership with T-Mobile USA, and now also in partnership with France’s SFR under the name Napster Découverte (Napster Discovery).
Glaser founded RealNetworks in February 1994 and served as its CEO until January 2010. He was named interim CEO in July 2012. He lives in Seattle with his 3 children and his partner Maggie Savarino.