Himesh Bhise Named CEO of Synacor

Exec Is Late Of Comcast, Charter & AOL
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Cable industry vet Himesh Bhise has been appointed CEO of Web portal developer and TV Everywhere specialist Synacor, succeeding Ron Frankel, who announced in March he would be stepping down from the position he’s held since April 2001.

Bhise, who most recently led new services and platform for Comcast Cable, where he was key in the development of services such as Xfinity Streampix, apps and the MSO’s new prepaid services, will be tasked with leading Synacor back to growth. He was also responsible for building growth businesses while at Charter Communications, one of Synacor’s long-time partners, and at AOL’s Mobile division. He also served as a leader of McKinsey & Company’s telecom and M&A practice.

“I think there’s a real opportunity there for the company to grow,” Bhise said, when asked about what drew him to Buffalo, N.Y.-based Synacor. “When I look at the company today, I see a company that’s got a great portfolio of customers…and a really good reputation in the industry,” he added, noting that he’s also keen on the new products that Synacor has in the pipeline.  

As for early priorities, Bhise, who officially started his new role today (August 4) and has also been appointed to the Synacor board, said he will be meeting with his new team as well as Synacor’s customers and prospects.

On the product side, the focus will include the company’s current Web portal, TVE products and its new mobile Android “framework.”

“Mobile is becoming such a critical part of what an MVPD [multichannel video programming distributor] offers, and we’ve all seen how much traffic has been moving to that platform,” he said.

Bhise is also coming on board as Synacor continues to get static from two dissident investors. JEC Capital and Ratio Capital, which together own almost 10% of Synacor’s common stock, have demanded the resignation of Syancor chairman Jordon Levy and have urged Synacor to halt its search for a replacement for Frankel and to instead seek a sale.  

Synacor has instead adopted a shareholder rights plan that guards against potential attempts to seize control of the company and maintained that it will instead pursue a growth plan that will keep the company autonomous. 

“Himesh Bhise was on our shortlist from day one,” added Synacor board director Marwan Fawaz, the former president of Motorola Home (sold by Google to Arris last April), and EVP strategy and CTO Charter Communications. “Having known him for years as a respected industry leader, business builder and innovator of multiscreen technologies and content, Himesh was the ideal candidate for Synacor CEO, and we aggressively targeted him. We’re delighted to welcome Himesh as Synacor’s CEO and the newest member of its Board of Directors.”

Synacor said Frankel will stay on as an advisor to the company and remain on Synacor’s board of directors.

Synacor posted first quarter loss of $2.1 million (7 cents per share) on revenues of $25.2 million, down from $29.1 million a year ago. The company is scheduled to report second quarter results on August 12.

Synacor’s service provider customers include Armstrong, BendBroadband, Buckeye CableSystem, Google Fiber, CenturyLink, Cable One, Charter Communications, Mediacom Communications, Suddenlink Communications, WideOpenWest, Surewest Communications and Verizon Communications, among others.

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