John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

RealNetworks Fast-Forwards Through Yet Another CEO — Its First One

RealNetworks founder Rob Glaser is back at the helm of the company he established some 17 years ago. The company said today that Thomas Nielsen had resigned as president and chief executive, and that Glaser would replace him on an interim basis.

Way to slip that leadership shake-up into the pre-Fourth of July news dump, Real!

Real offered little in the way of explanation for Nielsen’s abrupt departure, which comes less than a year after he was tapped as CEO. “The board and Thomas mutually agreed that the CEO position wasn’t the right fit,” Glaser said. “We thank Thomas for the contributions he has made in moving RealNetworks forward and wish him well in his new endeavors.”

Nielsen is the second CEO Real has lost in as many years. His predecessor, Bob Kimball, lasted only a year in the job.

The company’s board of directors has already begun a search for a new CEO.

Below, the message Glaser broadcast to Real employees today apprising them of the changes:


I’m writing to tell you about a change in leadership at RealNetworks.

Thomas Nielsen has resigned as President & CEO, effective immediately. Thomas and RealNetworks’ board have mutually agreed that Thomas wasn’t a fit.

The board has asked me to step in as Interim CEO. I’m humbled and honored to take on this responsibility.

RealNetworks is a great company that has done amazing things in the past and that will do even more amazing things in the future.
We will have a company meeting next Monday (July 9th) in Seattle to discuss things in more detail. We also plan to send out a short video message for our employees located outside of Seattle.

In the interim, let me make 3 points.

1. We have a lot to do to bring RealNetworks into the future. I will come to work every day with a sense of urgency and a bias towards action. I want all of you to do the same. Our two highest priorities will be to lock in on a go-forward strategy for RealNetworks, and to get cashflow positive. You will hear more about this in the coming days and weeks.

2. I’m not a candidate for permanent CEO. Because of personal and other professional responsibilities, I can’t sign up to be permanent CEO. Having said that, while iCEO, I can promise you that I will give 100%.

3. We all recognize that RealNetworks has had too much change in the past 2 ½ years. Along with my colleagues on the senior team and on the board, I’m committed to setting the company on a stable, long-term path to success and to a smooth succession plan.

On behalf of the Board and the entire management team, I want to personally thank Thomas for his efforts. I look forward to seeing our Seattle employees next Monday and hearing from our global employees.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus