SeaChange Signs Rau As Permanent CEO

SeaChange International has decided to install Raghu Rau as its permanent chief executive officer, five months after he assumed interim CEO duties with the departure last November of founder, chairman and CEO Bill Styslinger.

Rau, who will eliminate the "interim" part of the CEO title effective May 1, has embarked on a strategy to focus the video-on-demand and advertising systems vendor on its core software business while reducing the overall cost structure. That included inking a deal to sell SeaChange's declining broadcast servers and storage business -- to be named XOR Media -- to a group of private investors. Rau also has said he is looking to sell off SeaChange's media-services unit.

SeaChange had retained executive-recruiting firm CTPartners to conduct a CEO search, which included including both internal and external candidates.

However, "given Raghu's impressive background, together with the confidence he has inspired both inside the company and with customers and investors, the board decided he is the best choice for the permanent assignment," SeaChange chairman Thomas Olson said in announcing the decision.

Continued Olson, "Raghu accurately assessed our organization, and then moved decisively, initiating actions to ensure SeaChange's continued leadership in the personalized multi-screen video market, such as shedding non-core businesses and realigning our workforce to enable more coordination and collaboration."

Rau joined the SeaChange board in July 2010. He has previously held a number of senior leadership positions at Motorola and previously served on the board of Microtune, which was then acquired by Zoran. He currently serves on the board of Aviat Networks, a vendor of wireless transmission systems.

As permanent CEO, Rau will retain his seat on SeaChange's board.

"My decision to continue as the CEO expresses my utmost confidence in SeaChange's transformation strategy to become a pure-play software provider," he said in a statement. "I intend to focus, with a renewed sense of urgency, on driving shareholder value by focusing on improving financial performance, operational excellence and delivering high-quality, next-generation products to our customers."

Overall for the quarter ended Jan. 31, 2012, SeaChange reported revenue of $51.7 million (excluding $2.4 million related to the broadcast servers and storage group), down from $57.9 million a year earlier. The company posted a net loss from continuing operations in the quarter of $3.5 million versus net income from continuing operations of $11.2 million a year prior.

Included in the results for the Jan. 31 quarter -- SeaChange's fourth quarter fiscal 2012 -- were restructuring charges of $3.1 million, primarily related to layoffs, and $1.8 million of earn-out expenses related to prior acquisitions.

Among other executive changes at SeaChange recently, former president Yvette Kanouff resigned in February and subsequently was hired by Cablevision Systems as executive vice president of engineering for software design.