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Shelby Bonnie, the emblematic co-founder and CEO of CNET Networks, has resigned as CEO, after the company found errors in how the firm accounted for stock-option expenses. Neil Ashe has been name the new CEO and Jarl Mohn as non-executive chairman, effective immediately.
Also, it will not file its 10-Q quarterly financial report on time and lowered its revenue guidance due to negative trends in the technology and video game industries. For Q3, it now expects revenues of $92.8 million, from previous guidance of between $93 million and $96 million.
Since joining CNET Networks in 2002, Ashe has been heading the acquisitions side and content expansion strategy. His day-to-day responsibility was for the Community and Lifestyle, International, Channel, and Business divisions. Prior to joining CNET, Ashe founded and served as CEO of several start-up companies and held senior positions in private equity and investment banking.
Mohn has previously served as president and CEO of Liberty Digital, founding president and CEO of E! Entertainment Television, and executive VP & GM of MTV and VH1. He was known by his radio name Lee Masters much of his career. Mohn is an investor in and director of MobiTV; he’s also on the boards of E.W. Scripps and XM Radio.
Staci adds: To say that I’m shocked is an understatement. Although CNET had announced an investigation, he wasn’t on the list of people I thought might run into problems of this magnitude in the recent stock option wave. Shelby Bonnie was the public face of CNET with investors and the industry. He did his usual excellent job of representing the company when I saw him at MIXX late last month. We’ll look more at the financials — the stock has already dropped nearly six percent — but gauging the impact of the loss of a co-founder and longtime leader, particularly in this manner, is an intangible that’s hard to gauge. Of course, it’s his very importance to the company that made this move inevitable once the problems became apparent. More to come. Releases: Special committee’s findings | Executive appointments
Update: Bonnie, who remains a director, had this to say as part of the announcement: “I apologize for the option-related problems that happened under my leadership. I believe that the company has come a long way since 2003 in addressing these deficiencies, but am deeply disappointed it happened nonetheless.”