Tag Archive: industry moves

Jimmy Pitaro

Jimmy Pitaro

Earlier today, Disney said what is likely not much of a shock to anyone – that it was handing over the reins of its interactive division to one of its two co-presidents, Jimmy Pitaro.

That means John Pleasants, who was the other co-president and was located in Silicon Valley, is leaving the kingdom, merging the games and media units under one leader in Los Angeles. Pleasants, as happens in these kinds of things, will be a strategic consultant to Disney Interactive.

The reorganization of the unit comes three years after Pitaro, a former Yahoo media exec, and Pleasants, who came to Disney via its acquisition of Playdom, were paired. Disney Interactive recently reported its second quarterly profit of $16 million on sales of $396 million, in what has been an uphill effort over the past decade for the entertainment giant.

Under the regime of former CEO Michael Eisner – many digital moons ago and which I covered since I am so dang old – Disney bought search engine Infoseek and tried to create a portal called Go.com. That failed, and was one of many efforts to define the media company’s Web goals. More recently, in 2008, Disney gathered most of its Internet properties under Steve Wadsworth.

Then came the pairing of Pitaro and Pleasants. And now, just Pitaro.

Disney said it “will move forward with a singular strategy for driving revenue and advertising across key platforms and franchises,” such as Disney Infinity – a big Pleasants project – and Club Penguin.

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BlackBerry executive chair and interim CEO John Chen just accepted what is arguably the most challenging job in tech – and perhaps the worst, as well. But he’s being well compensated for taking it on.

Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that Chen is to receive a yearly salary of $1 million, along with a performance bonus of $2 million. He has also been awarded 13 million restricted shares in the company.

Currently worth about $85 million, those shares are scheduled to vest over the next five years. A quarter of them will become payable after three years, another quarter after four years, and the remaining 50 percent after five years.

It’s a massive compensation package, particularly for a company undergoing a brutal restructuring that will see it sack some 4,500 employees. But evidently it was crucial to bringing Chen onboard. “Once we saw John Chen, we had to work to make sure we could attract him,” Prem Watsa, CEO of BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial, said of Chen’s deal.

And, to be fair, Chen does seem a promising hire for the foundering BlackBerry. He has turned around a similarly troubled business before: Sybase. When Chen joined that company as CEO in 1998, it was nearly at death’s door. Some 13 years later, Chen had sold it to SAP for $5.8 billion – more than 15 times the company’s market cap when he took up the reins.


Fab chief operating officer Beth Ferreira will be leaving the e-commerce startup, sources told AllThingsD.

This will be the second major departure in as many weeks at Fab. Co-founder Bradford Shellhammer recently said he was stepping away from day-to-day operations.

Before Fab hired Ferreira two years ago, she spent three years as an operations exec at Etsy. She is widely respected in e-commerce operations circles and her hiring was seen by many in the industry as a sign that Fab was as serious about the back-end operations of the business as it was about the front-end experience for shoppers.

(Update: Fab spokeswoman Deborah Roth issued a statement on upcoming personnel changes, but didn’t confirm Ferreira’s exit.

“With regards to the rumors, it is accurate that Fab is undergoing management changes as we realign the business to execute on our 2014-2017 plan,” she wrote. “There will be a number of management changes involved as we streamline the organization and move to a category P&L based structure. As not all of the organizational changes are final yet, we are withholding comment on any specific individuals until later this week.”)

In recent months, Fab has shed at least 37 percent of its staff – or 250 employees – as it decided it could not build a giant, profitable business around short-term flash sales in the categories it has chosen. Instead, it is trying to build an e-commerce store with a more traditional model of carrying inventory and making products available for sale for long periods of time.

That business-model transition will include a more narrow focus on product categories. Roth previously told AllThingsD that Fab would eliminate vintage, food and pets categories from its product focus.

In the aftermath of those layoffs, CEO Jason Goldberg and CTO Nishith Shah decided to forfeit their salaries for 2014.

(Photo courtesy of Fab.com)


The recent management shake-up at chip giant Intel has claimed its first high-profile casualty. Dadi “David” Perlmutter, a well-respected executive VP who had been a leading but unsuccessful contender in the race to succeed former CEO Paul Otellini, will be leaving the company early next year, after 34 years.

Intel confirmed the move in a regulatory filing made public today.

Perlmutter, who heads up Intel’s Architecture group, the business unit that designs and manufacturers its chips that go into personal computers, servers and other devices, will leave the company in February.

After Otellini announced that he would retire earlier than expected last year, Perlmutter (pictured below) was among the candidates who pitched Intel’s board of directors on the CEO job, but lost out to the unusual joint offering of then-COO Brian Krzanich and president Rene James.


Perlmutter’s departure isn’t entirely surprising. Within days of Krzanich taking over as CEO, there were reports that he had moved to take direct control over Intel’s Architecture Group, and had delegated Perlmutter to a vaguely described transitional role, though Intel never made that role official.

Regulatory filings show that Perlmutter made about $15.7 million in total compensation from Intel last year, and, as of February of this year, he owned 1,968,599 shares of Intel worth nearly $47 million at today’s share price.

Perlmutter, a native of Israel, had long been seen as the company’s “Mr. Inside,” possessing a skill for getting things done. He was less effective at the public-facing portions of the jobs. A keynote he gave in Sept. 2012 – intended to reignite some excitement around Intel’s strategic plans to improve personal computers amid flagging sales – fell pretty flat.

His first big success at Intel came with the Centrino line of mobile processors that launched in 2003 and soon dominated the notebook market. Later, he was responsible for the Core line of chips that effectively replaced Intel’s longtime Pentium brand of PC processors.

Intel shares fell 41 cents, or 1.75 percent, to $23.66. The shares are up by nearly 15 percent this year.

Here’s how Intel described the move in the 8-K filing made public this morning:

“On October 18, 2013, David Perlmutter, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Intel Architecture Group, notified Intel Corporation (“Intel”) of his intention to leave Intel effective February 20, 2014, the 34th anniversary of his start of employment at Intel, to pursue other opportunities in his life and professional career. Throughout his career at Intel, Mr. Perlmutter led many of the product, technology and business transformations at Intel.

Until his departure in February 2014, Mr. Perlmutter will provide transition assistance to Intel’s Platform Engineering Group and on other matters as requested by management and will continue to participate in all applicable Intel compensation and benefit plans and arrangements. Mr. Perlmutter will receive post-employment benefits as described in the “Executive Compensation” section of Intel’s proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 3, 2013, including acceleration of the vesting of certain equity awards pursuant to company policy for employees age 60 or over and relocation assistance under the terms of Mr. Perlmutter’s relocation agreement.”

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