Video software

Howard Breaks From Imagine Communications

LOS ANGELES -- The Cable Show -- Jamie Howard has parted ways with Imagine Communications and won't be taking up a board position as originally intended, as the video compression specialist installs a new, temporary CEO and alters its product strategy.

"It's time to pass the baton and to be available to pursue another opportunity," Howard, the former CEO of the San Diego-based startup, confirmed to Light Reading Cable here on the show floor Wednesday afternoon. "The company is in a good position and has a strong team in place."

Howard left Imagine for good late last week, a move that comes less than a month after the company secured another $10 million from its investors and shored up plans to go after the mobile and Internet video markets. (See Imagine Gets More Dough .)

Imagine cut its teeth on a compression system that allows cable operators to squeeze three high-definition feeds (in MPEG-2 format) into one 6MHz-wide channel. That product got Imagine some deployments at MSOs such as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), but sources say sales for that product have been flattening.

Here at the show, Imagine is demonstrating the 4.0 version of its ICE Broadcast System, which supports multiple video codecs and aims to support operators' TV Everywhere distribution strategies. Company chief technology officer and co-founder Ron Gutman says the company is also showing off 10:1 HD video compression capabilities at the show as part of its new multi-screen distribution strategy.

Howard's complete separation from Imagine comes as somewhat of a surprise. Word that Imagine was seeking a new CEO got out in March, but the company said Howard would stay on the board. (See Imagine Seeking a New CEO .)

Howard declined to go into many specifics behind that decision other than to say that he believed the time was right for his departure, and that it would allow him to pursue his next full-time move. An industry source says Howard decided to activate a package that allows him to sever his ties immediately, but the terms of that agreement weren't immediately known.

Imagine is now searching for a new CEO. An Imagine official confirmed that IT and telecom vet Sebastiano Tevarotto has stepped in as the company's interim chief. Tevarotto, who had been serving as a consultant to Imagine, was most recently VP and GM of communications for HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ)'s Media & Entertainment Worldwide division.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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