In a story first broken by TV Tech sister brand TVBEurope, Andrew Cross, who joined Grass Valley earlier this year as CEO, has stepped down from the role, but will remain working with the company as an advisor.
Cross took the decision to step down following a restructure of the company due to market conditions, CMO Neil Maycock tells TVBEurope.
“When we worked on strategy with Andrew as a management team, and when we looked at the requirements for the immediate term, Andrew didn’t really feel he was the right person to lead the company through that phase of transformation,” says Maycock. “If you know Andrew, he’s very much a technologist and visionary. He felt he was the right guy to set a forward agenda around technology exploitation, but right now we’ve got some pressing operational issues that we need to look at, and Andrew felt that wasn’t him.”
Louis Hernandez Jr, CEO of parent company Black Dragon Capital, has taken over as interim CEO, leading the company for the second time in 12 months following Tim Shoulders’ departure last November.
The search for a new CEO is likely to begin in early 2023, says Maycock. “Louis has done a transformation like this with Avid, and they came through that with a very healthy business,” he states. “So he’s got some experience of doing what we’re doing right now. Once we get through this phase, then he will be looking to fulfil that CEO position.”
Grass Valley has been “hit particularly hard” by issues around the supply chain, explains Maycock. “We’ve done exceptionally well this year with orders, we’re hitting our orders aspirations for the first time in a long time,” he adds.
“The frustrating thing is that the supply chain is hitting us really hard and we are behind on revenue because we can’t source the components we need to make products and ship the orders that we’ve got, which is a really bizarre situation to be in. That puts an undue strain on the business. Obviously, if you’ve got less revenue than you expected, it impacts cash. In the past where we would give a supplier a forecast of what we needed over the next 12 months, now if components are available, you have to buy 12 months upfront. There are other components you can’t even get for 12 months. So it’s a completely changed landscape.
“Our inventory has gone up, and yet we still don’t have all the parts that we need to supply the demand we have for orders in a timely manner. We will fulfil those orders, but it’s taking time,” he adds.
Maycock continues that these issues have put pressure on the business which has led to an acceleration in its strategy around its media processing platform, AMPP. “That strategy involves a level of restructuring of our cost base, which will help with the supply chain issues, and that’s what we’re executing against,” he explains.
Prior to Cross’s decision to step down, CTO Sydney Lovely also left the company. He has been replaced by Marek Kielczewski, who comes from a “very strong software background”. “As we do more with AMPP we wanted to improve our software disciplines and productivity and quality. So Marek came in with that agenda”, states Maycock.
That wind of change is blowing through the media industry, and also through Grass Valley. All of the company’s playout, asset management and live production workflow components now operate through AMPP. But Maycock stresses that Grass Valley will continue to produce hardware where it is needed. “What has become clear from engaging with the market is that people aren’t looking for an either/or situation,” he says. “We think hybrid is going to be the case for a long time. So really, our strategy is about having this hybrid portfolio that allows you to use AMPP where it makes sense and then use hardware where that makes sense.”
Jenny has worked in the media throughout her career, joining TVBEurope as editor in 2017. She has also been an entertainment reporter, interviewing everyone from Kylie Minogue to Tom Hanks; as well as spending a number of years working in radio. She continues to appear on radio every week and occasionally pops up on TV.
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