Struggle for power at Opera?


Hi, PC-WELT readers!
Please read my "NOTE" at the bottom. This is my personal blog, and I do not speak on behalf of Opera Software. Also keep in mind the little thing PC-WELT forgot to tell you, namely that the CEO was never asked to step down in the first place.

Before the annual General Meeting last week, Norwegian newspaper "Dagens Næringsliv" reported that there was a possible shareholder uproar after our CEO had fired the board when it asked him to step down as CEO. The news spread quickly here in Norway, and rumours popped up everywhere. People jumped to conclusions, of course, and long articles were written on the subject. Everyone had an opinion, and our CEO was portrayed in a, let's say, less than flattering light.

The news also started spreading internationally:

http://www.aftenposten.no/english/business/article1844277.ece
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/1700AP_Opera_Software.html

So the General Meeting was held, and what happened? No action what so ever. The shareholders overwhelmingly voted in favour of the new board. Only 0.16 per cent of the shareholders at the meeting voted against the new board.

Where did the shareholder uproar go? 0.16 per cent is an uproar?

According to E24.no, the CEO was never asked to step down in the first place (text in Norwegian). And since he was never asked to step down, why would he fire the board for asking him to step down?

Slow news week over at "Dagens Næringsliv"?

Oh, and the former chairman of the board had this to say about the situation after having been replaced:

I think the new board will work well. Bill is definitely qualified as chairman. He's a real fox and has a large network in the US.

Bill (William Raduchel) is the new chairman of the board. "He's a real fox" is a Norwegian expression I guess.

I wish I could say that I am disappointed in the press, but I am sadly not surprised that they would make up stuff to get more readers. I have friends who are journalists, and I hope and trust that they are better than this. It's too bad that a few bad apples make everyone look bad.

Does the press ever apologize?

Note: I don't know anything beyond what's been written in the media, and I feel I must remind everyone that I am speaking on my own behalf here, and not on behalf of Opera Software. I also realize that not everyone in the company will think it's a good idea to blog about this, which is why I point out that this is my personal blog, and I don't have anything new to bring to the table apart from certain new facts that seem to be largely ignored by both Norwegian and international press.

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13 thoughts on “Struggle for power at Opera?

  1. Uh oh. I hope that everything has been resolved now. But, this portion caught my eye.

    The paper reported that the board was growing impatient with Tetzchner because of the company's poor performance – the share price has dropped more than 50 percent in the past year.

    Is that true?

  2. I don't know about poor performance. The yearly revenue growth is about 40 per cent.The stock fell sharply about a year ago. I am not sure exactly why. We did report a loss due to heavy investments, but I'd say that they will pay off. Maybe the market disagrees.The investments are things like local offices in important markets, such as Japan and Korea. This costs a lot of money in the short term, but allows us to get closer to customers and especially potential customers. The recent Samsung deal, for example, would probably be difficult to get without actual presence in Korea. I would guess that the same goes for Sony, Nintendo and KDDI in Japan.We also have about 400 million NOK in cash, so it's not like we can't afford to invest in long term growth in these crucial times.Whether the board is "growing impatient" or not, I don't know. It sounds strange, though, seeing as the board isn't exactly powerless in deciding on how Opera should do business. If they were growing impatient, it must have been with their own performance :)Since the claim that the board wanted Jon to step down seems to be made up, I wouldn't exactly trust the other claims that use this one as a foundation. Remove the corner stone (Jon was never asked to step down), and the whole story falls apart.

  3. And since he was never asked to step down, why would he fire the board for asking him to step down?

    According to the sources you quote, the board was (partly) replaced. Was there any official statement mentioning reasons for this? My trust in (serious) journalism is a big higher than yours I guess, so I would say that the press can be mistaken or put too much emphasis on unconfirmed rumours – that's something different than making up stories, which some less honorable media do. I don't know your sources' reputation, but your post sounds a bit defensive… 😉

  4. I don't have any sources apart from what's been mentioned in the media. Only one publication mentioned the fact that Jon hadn't actually been asked to step down.The reason stated for replacing the board was something to the effect of a smaller board making for better ease of communication and more efficiency. But one of the former board members wasn't up for election in the first place.It's easy to be defensive when someone makes up stuff about the company I work for without bothering to retract or apologize even when exposed 🙂

  5. I read an article about this a few days ago, and found it weird that blogs didn't pick it up, and there was no official news about it from Opera, nor any news about it added to the news from Europe list. So no matter if your boss will be less happy with you for doing this or not, I thank you for bringing some transparency into this topic. Even if this is no official Opera blog. PS: About the "fox" translation. That's one funny translation. I guess the Norwegian saying he is referring to is "en rev etter X", which translates to "a fox after X", where the X used to be hens. But in modern time used to describe someone trying hard in a clever way to reach something like the fox hunting for the hen. It might be Norwegian, but if I am not wrong I think we stole it from the German language. And it has nothing to do with the new chairman being foxy :p- ØØ –

  6. I guess the reason why there are no official statements on the site on this matter is that it's basically a fairy tale.The "fox" statement refers to the new chairman as being cunning or clever, I assume 🙂

  7. Yeah I was kind of "what's going on?".Anyway, thanks Haavard for these (clever?) precisions, and i think like you: if they didn't make any press article, it's because there's nothing big going on at this level.Maybe we'll now more if there's indeed a big buzz around this.

  8. Speaking of journalists…PC-WELT seems to have the impression that I spoke on behalf of Opera Software, despite my double disclaimer. Their story, published yesterday, also does not mention that the CEO was never asked to step down in the first place. And they neglect to mention that one of the five former board members who stepped down includes our CTO, Håkon Wium Lie (and that Grace R. Skaugen wasn't up for re-election in the first place).Originally posted by PC-WELT:

    Wenig überraschend. Das Weblog von Opera Software versucht den Putschversuch herunterzuspielen und den Bericht der "Dagens Næringsliv"als weit übertrieben darzustellen, bestätigt aber die Ablösung der fünf Vorstandsmitglieder.

  9. It's kind of shocking to see the people from PC-Welt are either not able to read English or just not very good in getting their homework done (doing proper research). I like the new introducing words towards the readers of PC-Welt in your post.

  10. I have no idea what is going on (normal for me) but here's my take on things :DThey said the CEO was askedto step down from his Opera task.They said he fired the Opera board.They said the shareholders all roared.They brought the 'News' as if from GOD,it seems that what they wrote was odd.Before the planet had half-spunthe 'News' was everywhere and somebelieved it, and the rumour millchurned out hot gossip fast untila General Meeting brought the factsand stopped the rumours in their tracks.The 'moral', if there is one here,is simple and so very clear:"Don't fully trust what you read.
    Media is driven by 'natural need'
    to Spin a story and sell 'News'
    with little regard for factual views
    .[/Size]:up:(c)

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