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“Rovi: A Kafka-esque firm led by inept, feckless executive team that makes Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" look like sanity. ”
- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I have been working at Rovi full-time for more than a yearPros
Perhaps the most positive take-away is the realization that the current corporate trajectory is unsustainable. The combination of reactive leadership, precarious market position, and negligible growth opportunities define the current state of Rovi. Recently buoyed by easy money (witness the constant re-financing of Corporate Debt) and layoffs, leadership whimsically employs any and all parlor tricks to slide through each 10-Q call. Yet, much like a spin-stall in a light aircraft, the pilots who chart Rovi's attitude are running out of time. Every ham-fisted jerk at the controls means less and less to building value and decreases airspeed. Recovery into true growth performance would be nothing shy of miraculous. The Firm continually edges nearer that frightening moment when Bernoulli's Principle applies no more, and the stick goes dead in the hand... Current measurable value is dubious and debatable - arbitragers will pick the bones of the wreckage and move on.
But, you ask: "what about the Patent Portfolio"? It is still there and has brought identifiable (if unimpressive growth) return to the revenue stream. However, Rovi's recent failed patent defenses against Netflix, Amazon, and Virgin Media illustrate the disturbing age and vulnerability of the IP portfolio. Why is this discussed in the "Pros" Column?!? Because it represents the firm's only solvent go-forward strategy. The New Product Development story gets much worse…Cons
Rovi has struggled to keep pace with peers and continues to lose ground to competition across the product suite in guide, search & recommendation, advertising, etc.
The C-suite has been through at least four executive strategy teams and myriad Consultancies' recommendations over the past couple of years as they struggle to determine the path forward and how possibly to execute to achieve market and revenue growth. Kind of like that friend we all know who is on his 4th or 5th wife: "What terrible luck! Your 5th bad wife in a row! Good thing it's not you..."
Despite these brief "marriages" and the council they bring, the executive leadership team resorts to a short-term, reactive approach to management demonstrated by the continually changing tactics, ever-increasing executive turnover and firings, and tepid stated growth targets. Concrete execution plans are replaced with threats of demotion and firings leading to a culture of fear and recrimination. VP/Director level mid-managers end up selling each other out in e-mails and open inter-department calls in an effort to displace blame for the inevitable missed deadline or execution gaffe. Cliques form up as the latest golden-haired SVP rolls in and builds a new crew of "trusted advisors" engendering mistrust amongst those who survive dismissal, but are tied to "last year's cool kids". This cycle has continued for years at Rovi as the rearranging of the deck chairs carries on...
Caught in the looming realization that new product development goals will be nigh on impossible to deliver against given resource issues and recent firings/demotions within the development team, leadership loses the innovation battle against far more nimble and market-savvy competitors such as TiVo, Comcast, and NDS, among others. Rovi now struggles to keep up against the Industry's rapid application and innovation development pace and simultaneous diminishing value the industry and customers assign to their product suite.Advice to ManagementAdvice
What investor in the world places value on +/- 5% growth targets with the inherent risk native to ROVI stock (1.9 Market Beta)?!? Treasuries perform almost as well and have nearly no risk.
Culture: Recent Denison Organizational Culture Surveys results came in recently and were an abomination. Senior Leadership was appropriately spared no quarter in the employee-based review and HR is ineffectual and absent in allaying a growing sentiment of discontent in the workforce at every level. Water cooler talk is a panoply of "who's getting fired, what's wrong with our leadership?!?, what are we doing here?". In the end the Denison survey is simply more data about a diseased organization that will not be acted upon - see the trend???
The executive leadership team has been given advice by many industry leaders, strategists, and outside consultants. They are unable to execute or follow any of this advice. So the advice now?!?:
It goes to the Board of Directors:
Resting and vesting time is over. Refinancing the debt does not correlate to growth. The Street needs an ROI story and 5% won't do it. Time to disaggregate the assets (not much outside of the IP portfolio) and sell them off to highest bidder. Time for The Board to do its only real job and redefine the C-Suite.Doesn't RecommendNegative OutlookDisapproves of CEO