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[June 23, 2014]
ValueVision shakeup complete, CEO Stewart resigns [Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn. :: ]
(Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 24--ValueVision Media CEO Keith Stewart has resigned following last week's shareholder vote that ousted half the company's board of directors -- a coup orchestrated by New York-based hedge fund Clinton Group, which has been lobbying for change for months at the Eden Prairie-based e-commerce and TV-retailing company.
Mark Bozek, a former CEO of home-shopping competitor HSN, will succeed Stewart.
Bozek was one of four Clinton Group nominees to be voted onto the eight-member board by shareholders on June 18. Despite surviving the vote, Stewart resigned as CEO over the weekend.
ValueVision does business as ShopHQ after being known for years as ShopNBC. It operates a TV shopping network and a retail website.
"ValueVision has great assets and our vision of all that comes next is ambitious; we plan to evolve the business, creating more robust platforms that enable us to become a far more relevant player in the multi-channel worlds of TV, online and mobile commerce and entertainment," Bozek said in a news release.
"By instilling a culture of accountability, respect and passion for the unique world of a 'dollars per minute' business, we believe ShopHQ has boundless potential." Stewart's resignation follows a months-long effort by the Clinton Group, well known as an activist shareholder, to shake up ValueVision's leadership, which the Clinton Group blamed for several years of unprofitability.
Clinton Group President Greg Taxin said Monday that he expects further changes in management following the shareholder vote, and to see an improvement in the company's overall performance within two or three quarters.
"The larger change will really be a cultural one: to pursue market share and to become as big as HSN and our other competitors -- not to be content to be third," Taxin said.
ShopHQ has long trailed larger competitors QVC and HSN in market share.
ValueVision has more the 1,000 employees. The company reported a profit of $460 million for its most recent quarter, ended May 3, after losing $2.5 million all of 2013. The company reported net losses of $28 million and $48 million, respectively, over the previous two years.
Although he does expect the company to return to regular profitability, Taxin expects some investments will need to be made first to get it "back on the right path." Ronald Frasch, also nominated by the Clinton Group, will take Stewart's seat on the board. Another Clinton Group nominee elected last week, Bob Rosenblatt, has been named the board's chairman. Rosenblatt replaces Randy Ronning, who was voted off the board last week.
ValueVision shares rose 3.2 percent Monday to $5.14.
Nick Woltman can be reached at 651-228-5189. Follow him on Twitter at @nickwoltman.
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