Outerwall, the company known for operating Coinstar and Redbox kiosks, announced on Friday it has named former Clearwire chief Erik Prusch as the company’s new CEO.
He’ll be the latest to try to mount a comeback for a company that for the past several years has watched its legacy brands wither, while new ventures have failed to take off.
Outerwall operates a handful of kiosks, but Redbox still accounts for about 65 percent of its machines and Coinstar another 30 percent. Prusch’s success — or failure — will depend on his ability to ride the dwindling DVD market for long enough to get the company’s next bread-and-butter business up and running.
“Erik is a proven executive with significant finance, operations and leadership expertise having led companies to successfully innovate, adapt to changing marketplaces and maximize profitability,” Nelson Chan, chair of Outerwall’s Board of Directors, said in a press release announcing the appointment.
Prusch held the top job at Clearwire, the Bellevue broadband wireless operator started by telecommunications pioneer Craig McCaw, for two years until it was acquired by Sprint in 2013. He then assumed the CEO role at Seattle mobile security software maker NetMotion Wireless for about a year, followed by another short stint as CEO of Arizona-based IT security software company Lumension. According to Outerwall’s announcement, he has also held leadership positions at Borland Software, Intuit’s TurboTax division, Identix, Gateway Computers, Koch Industries and PepsiCo.
He takes over after Scott Di Valerio, former Outerwall CEO of 2 years, stepped down in January. His time at the helm was marked by new kiosk ventures — several of which were short-lived — and a failed attempt to launch a streaming service in partnership with Verizon. Meanwhile, the future of Redbox, Outerwall’s biggest revenue driver, began to look shaky.
Nora Denzel, the Outerwall board member who filled in as interim CEO, has returned to her board duties.