Sources: Limelight Scans for New CEO

Sources say a search is underway to find a replacement for content delivery company's CEO Bill Rinehart

August 30, 2006

3 Min Read
Sources: Limelight Scans for New CEO

Industry sources tell Light Reading that up-and-coming content delivery company Limelight Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: LLNW) is searching for a new CEO. (See Limelight Lands $130M .)

The new exec would replace current CEO Bill Rinehart. And, according to our sources, the search for Rinehart's replacement at the helm of Limelight began as early as May.

Several executives have been approached by Limelight’s Park Avenue executive search firm, James & Co., our sources say, including MovieLink CEO James Ramo. Neither Ramo, nor the search firm, returned calls for this story.

This is not Bill Rinehart's first time in the limelight. [Ed. note: Groooan!] Rinehart, while VP of North and Latin American sales at the San Francisco-based email automation company Critical Path Inc. was investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for “fraudulent revenue recognition” practices, according to documents at the SEC Website. The charges led to Rinehart’s ouster from the company in 2001.

The Northern California district court, at the request of the SEC, levied a fine and barred Rinehart from acting as a director or officer of a publicly traded company. Rinehart later agreed to the bar for a period of five years and also agreed to pay an undisclosed cash penalty.

Rinehart's current firm, Limelight, is fresh from a $130 million funding round led by Goldman Sachs & Co. in July, and analysts say it has plenty of cash and is putting up strong revenue numbers. (See Limelight Raises $130M.) “They’ve been doing phenomenally well,” says Pacific Growth Equities Inc. analyst John Mark Duncan.

Limelight provides a content delivery network (CDN) for the Internet distribution of video, music, and games -- the kind of content that can choke older Internet connections.

Duncan says Limelight's next move is probably an IPO. He suggests that the VC already invested in Limelight should give it more than enough runway. “I couldn’t imagine them doing another round.” (See Video Caching Steps Into the Limelight.) Duncan also says Limelight already has higher revenue and cash-on-hand than at least one of its publicly traded peers, VitalStream.

So, the issue of Rinehart's past may be something Limelight's board is considering if indeed the company is thinking of going public, according to telecom analyst Frank Dzubeck, president of Communications Network Architects.

“I serve on two boards and I can tell you that you spend 40 percent of your time watching your back and trying to make sure you are in compliance,” Dzubeck tells Light Reading.

Thus, Dzubeck says, it should be no surprise that the Limelight board would like to replace Rinehart if the right candidate is found. "If you were in the board’s position you would not hesitate a minute."

When a new CEO is found, our sources say, Rinehart may still have a leadership role -- likely marshalling the company’s sales efforts under a different title.

Limelight is headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., and employs 100 people.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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