TiVo Announces Resignation of Marty Yudkovitz, President

TiVo Announces Resignation of Marty Yudkovitz, President Fresh on the heels of TiVo announcing that CEO Mike Ramsay would be leaving his post, now TiVo’s President Marty Yudkovitz, a longtime television veteran and former NBC executive, is leaving the company as well, effective yesterday. Yudkovitz had held his position at the company for less than two years.

Marty Yudkovitz

TiVo’s stock which once traded at over $70 per share, has been hovering around $4 per share the past week. Just since January 1st this year, TiVo’s stock has plumeted over 30%.

Rumors had been reported over “internal conflicts” that were said to have existed between Ramsay and Yudkovitz during his time with the company. Most recently the Hollywood Reporter had reported that Yudkovitz felt the company needed to more responsible to their shareholders financially while Ramsay wanted more emphasis on the technology.

“Analyst Jimmy Schaeffler of the Carmel Group said that TiVo, while presiding over the best DVR technology in the industry, also has been plagued by “internal conflict,” mostly between Ramsay and Marty Yudkovitz, the longtime NBC executive who joined TiVo as its president primarily to strike deals with cable TV companies, which so far have eluded the company.

“The Ramsay side says that TiVo’s technology will shine through, and the Yudkovitz side says they need to be more responsible to their shareholders and produce more revenue,” Schaeffler said.

Forrestor Research Analyst Josh Bernoff had also previously suggested that when Yudkovitz was not promoted to CEO after Ramsay’s announced resignation that this may have signaled TiVo’s lack of confidence in Yudkovitz. Bernoff had maintained that Yudkovitz was the “obvious choice” and had questioned the reasoning behind bypassing the executive.

To have a second high level executive, fresh after Ramsay’s announced departure, leave the company as the stock has been under such pressure may be seen by some as further evidence of the rats jumping ship. On the other hand it certainly is possible that both Ramsay and Yuddovitz are being forced out by a Board that may be increasingly disappointed in company management — particularly in light of the recent stock performance.

Yudkovitz was previously reported as saying “I have at least a dozen No. 1 priorities. But there is no priority more important than (landing a cable TV deal),” per TV Predictions. Most recently the New York Times reported on January 17th that while a deal had been in the works with cable giant Comcast it had ended when TiVo CEO Mike Ramsay decided to pull out of the deal. “Comcast was not going to pay TiVo enough money or give it enough control over its service, Mr. Ramsay told the company’s board, according to people involved in those discussions.”

Prior to coming to TiVo, Yudkovitz had spent over 20 years as an executive at NBC and had been involved in the launches of CNBC, MSNBC and MSNBC.com. Yudkovitz also had been the executive in charge of the NBC/Microsoft relationship.

Back in 1998, Wired magazine, had once referred to Yudkovitz as a “bald, brash scrapper with the disposition of an osprey, always on the lookout for any deal that might score cash for NBC’s coffers.”

Yudkovitz was reported as having said, “”When you are out there playing the game, the deal flow occurs,” in describing his business philosophy. “You find yourself in the middle of the deal flow, you find yourself in the information flow, you have yourself a seat at the strategic table.”

With the recent failure of the company to create the significant partnerships that some feel are necessary for it’s survival Yudkovitz also could have felt that it simply was time to move on.

In TiVo’s statement on Yudkovitz’s resignation, they stated that Yudkovitz was leaving for the oft quoted generic statement to “spend more time with his family.”

Update: The San Francisco Chronicle has an insightful article on the resignation here. The Mercury News has an equally interesting article out on the subject as well.

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