Well, if there's anything that might make investors uneasy, it's a string of management defections from a company. And on Friday, TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO ) announced the resignation of another high-level executive, Chief Financial Officer David H. Courtney. It might be hard for diehard TiVo investors not to sustain a little shudder over this, seeing how this is the third high-ranking executive to leave a post within a year.
I can't resist snarking about the press announcement's timing, either, since it hit the newswires at 4 p.m. Friday. How many of us think such ill-timed press announcements shouldn't be called "we hope everybody's already left for the weekend before they get a load of this" releases?
Anyway, dig into the press release and there is some explanation for Courtney's departure. "In light of the company's recent accelerated achievement of its profitability target, its very strong financial position, and the successful transition in CEO leadership, I feel that this is the right time for me to turn my attention to new and different pursuits," Courtney said.
Hmm. Things are going swimmingly, and my work here is done? Not.
We all know that TiVo still faces plenty of challenges from a slew of rivals on many fronts. Despite its highly anticipated deal with Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA ) , it recently lost its very important arrangement with DirecTV (NYSE: DTV ) , one that represents a whole lot of subscribers. TiVo also said recently that it plans to delay sustained profitability to embark on yet another marketing blitz. Yeah, yeah, it's to sign on as many subscribers as possible -- we've heard it before.
There's plenty of work to do at TiVo, and it's not like this is an isolated incident. Many of you are likely aware that TiVo's CEO Mike Ramsay stepped down from the post early this year, and President Marty Yudkovitz jumped ship very shortly thereafter.
I popped by our TiVo discussion board on Fool.com, and one Foolish Community member questioned some disclosure in TiVo's related SEC filing -- asking why, if Courtney is leaving in April 2006, is he set, according to a severance package, to receive bonus compensation linked to full-year 2006 and the first nine months of 2007? That's one heck of a good query, one that many TiVo investors should probably be asking.
In addition, in the fine print under regulation FD in the 8-K filed with the SEC, TiVo disclosed that Brodie Keast, the company's executive vice president and general manager of the consumer division, is also leaving.
I admit it, I have a soft spot for TiVo. Long ago, before I even worked for the Fool, I held shares in TiVo. (These shares were sold before I came to work for the Fool. We do have a strict disclosure policy.) And, I use TiVo at home, so I am no stranger to the great -- and arguably superior -- service the company provides. However, if I were still a TiVo shareholder, I think this latest event might give me one more reason to feel uneasy.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.