RealNetworks names Rob Glaser its permanent CEO

The company's founder finds himself back at the helm with plans to keep pushing forward with services like RealPlayer Cloud and Rhapsody.

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RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser. RealNetworks

Rob Glaser's interim CEO days are done -- he's officially been appointed the permanent chief of RealNetworks.

The digital media company announced Wednesday that after two years of being the interim CEO, the board decided to make his position permanent.

"Rob is the best person to complete Real's turnaround and to lead the company into the future," Dominique Trempont, lead independent director of the RealNetworks board, said in a statement. "The board greatly respects his leadership, vision, and the excellence of the team Rob has assembled."

Glaser founded the company in 1994 and was CEO for its first 16 years. After stepping down in 2010, Robert Kimball became the company's chief for a little more than one year. Kimball's quick resignation ultimately put Glaser back in charge.

"I'm honored to be named Real's CEO," Glaser said in a statement. "In the two years I've been interim CEO, we've made tremendous progress revitalizing Real's leadership team and products."

A couple of years ago, RealNetworks was facing a years-long slide in revenues, as well as stiff competition and pricing pressure. While still in a tough market, the company has managed to introduce several new products, like the watch-it-anywhere video service RealPlayer Cloud. RealNetworks said Wednesday that this service reached more than 5 million registered users in the last nine months.

RealNetworks also has a 45 percent equity stake in subscription streaming music service Rhapsody International. The company announced Tuesday that Rhapsody just reached its 2 millionth paying member. The music service, which essentially invented the all-inclusive subscription model in 2001, took a decade to hit its first million subscribers in December 2011. The second million comes just a year and a half later.

"In this next phase," Glaser said, "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."

 

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