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CEO Joins OpenTV Exodus

Jeff Baumgartner
8/30/2007

There was more shuffling of the exec deck at OpenTV Corp. (Nasdaq: OPTV) today, as the middleware and interactive television applications specialist announced Alan Guggenheim has stepped down as president, CEO, and director, "for personal reasons." (See OpenTV CEO Steps Down.)

Stepping into the void is Ben Bennett, appointed as acting CEO and chief operating officer, the latter being a new position. Bennett most recently served as OpenTV's senior vice president of customer operations.

OpenTV also appointed Mauro Saladini as its new board director. Saladini is CFO of Kudelski Group , which assumed voting control of OpenTV in January from Liberty Media Corp. (NYSE: LMC). (See Kudelski Buys OpenTV Stock.)

In a statement, OpenTV executive chairman Andre Kudelski talked up the company's "broader vision," including its opportunities in the elusive U.S. cable market.

Those near-term prospects took a hit earlier this month, when OpenTV confirmed a delay until 2008 of its middleware deployment with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) in the MSO's Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) set-tops footprint. Guggenheim attributed part of the delay to the MSO being been focused on other projects, including deployments of switched digital video. (See Time Warner Cable Delays OpenTV Rollout .)

Former OpenTV CEO Jim Chiddix, who held the CTO post at Time Warner Cable for about 15 years, was one of the architects of that deal.

Guggenheim's decision to step down follows a string of recent departures by key OpenTV executives since the Kudelski deal. Steve Reynolds, formerly senior vice president of technology, recently left to join Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK). Tim Evard, senior VP of marketing and applications, resigned in late January.

Most recently, Ed Knudson, the senior VP of OpenTV's advanced advertising unit, joined satellite broadband company WildBlue Communications . (See Knudson Jumps to WildBlue .)

OpenTV said more than 92 million digital set-tops house its software. Shares in OpenTV were down 5 cents (3.6%) at $1.34 in midday trading.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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