SeaChange names interim CEO Rau as its permanent chief executive

It has been a tumultuous 12 months for SeaChange International (Nasdaq:SEAC), which has seen its founder and CEO, president, CFO and chairman of the board all leave their roles. It's changed its overall direction, beginning a metamorphosis into a pure-play software company, jettisoning its broadcast servers and storage business along the way, and looking to spin off other operations that don't fit its vision.

Through most of it, Raghu Rau has acted as interim CEO, responsible for the chutes and ladders in the executive ranks, the change in strategy and plans announced earlier in the year to reduce the company's overall headcount as it chased profitability.

Rau's been rewarded for his efforts, and will have the "interim" portion of his title removed effective Tuesday, the company announced today. He'll also retain his seat on the board of directors.

Rau said his decision to stay on in a permanent role was an expression of his "utmost confidence in SeaChange's transformation strategy to become a pure-play software provider."

"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," said Rau.

In March, Rau said changing the company's focus and moving toward software would lower its overall cost structure and lead to "superior financial results." SeaChange already has trimmed $5 million in annualized expenses and cut opex as a result of its server and storage divestiture .

And, Rau said, SeaChange will see "further operating expense reductions in the first half of this year." He promised to make SeaChange "a leaner and more agile company focused on bringing new products to market that deliver a competitive advantage to our service provider customers and drive increased value for our shareholders."

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 Corporation. He currently serves on the board of Aviat Networks, a leader in wireless transmission systems.

"Raghu's leadership and excellent grasp of our business was apparent from the moment he assumed responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the Company," Thomas Olson, SeaChange's chairman, said in a statement today. "In a matter of just a few months, he has dramatically improved SeaChange's overall operations and its ability to serve global markets, to the immediate benefit of our customers as well as our shareholders and employees."

Rau's appointment comes after the board weighed a number of candidates from inside and outside the company.

"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," Olson added. "The positive momentum that has been visible since Raghu took the helm will now continue without pause or interruption."

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
SeaChange executive shuffle continues as Kanouff leaves presidency
SeaChange plans more divestitures as it morphs into pure-play software provider
SeaChange CEO out as company 'evaluates alternatives,' lowers Q3 outlook
SeaChange rolls out quick-to-deploy cloud video service

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