SeaChange Hires Jay Samit As CEO

SeaChange International said its board has unanimously appointed Jay Samit as CEO, succeeding Raghu Rau, who was named CEO in April of 2012 following five months as the video technology company’s interim leader.

Samit (pictured), a self-described serial entrepreneur who spent the last year teaching students how to build high-tech startups, most recently served as president of ooVoo, a social video chat service, and was CEO of SocialVibe, a digital advertising technology company. He is also an exec late of Sony and EMI, where he spearheaded digital media efforts, and built a million-member social network for college students while at Universal Studios.

Samit takes the helm following SeaChange’s transition into a software-focused company that divested non-core assets along the way. During Rau’s tenure as CEO, Seachange sold U.K.-based video acquisition and aggregation service On Demand Group to Avail-TVN (now Vubiquity), and sold its broadcast server and storage business to a private investment group.

SeaChange has been pushing ahead with a portfolio centered on Adrenalin, its multiscreen video backoffice platform, and Nucleus, a software platform for set-tops and gateways. SeaChange has also developed a stack for the Reference Design Kit (RDK), the pre-integrated software platform that is current managed by Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Liberty Global.

Although SeaChange has been the subject of M&A rumors in recent years, with TiVo and Rovi among the companies said to have taken a look at SeaChange, Rau has talked about the exploration of “tuck-in” acquisitions.

Samit said his plan is to grow SeaChange, believing that the company has the goods to take advantage of a global multiplatform video market that is exploding.

“The market opportunity has caught up with the vision,” he said. “Now it’s about executing and remaining a global leader.”

“After a thorough and deliberate succession process, the Board of Directors is delighted that Jay will lead SeaChange as we build on our market leadership in multi-screen video and create shareholder value,” said Thomas Olson, chairman of SeaChange’s board, in a statement. “With more than thirty years of experience in digital video, Jay has a thorough understanding of the expanding landscape of video and has successfully deployed new technologies with leading media and telecommunication companies around the globe. Jay understands the needs of our current customers and his experience in digital video will enhance our ability to deliver for them in the future.”

Olson also extended his appreciation to Rau for “providing very effective leadership at a critical time in the company’s history…Raghu was the right person to lead SeaChange at a pivotal time and he deserves our thanks for his many accomplishments.”

Last month, SeaChange posted a non-GAAP fiscal second quarter loss of $2.8 million (8 cents per share) on revenues of 29.8 million. It ended the quarter with cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $110.9 million and no debt outstanding.