Posts Tagged ‘president’

Next Time We’ll Take Our No Doz Before Listening To A ShopNBC Earnings Call

March 16, 2010

Keith, liven it up, hah?

We were good soldiers Tuesday and listened to a replay of ShopNBC’s fourth-quarter conference call to see if we’d hear any juicy tips about the company’s plans.

Well, we’re sorry to report that the call with analysts was about as bland as they come.

In fact, and we are not joking, we dropped the phone twice when we nodded off in the middle of the replay. ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart and new president Bob Ayd were among those on the call.

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ShopNBC Can’t Afford Charla Rines, But It’s Paying The New President $400,000 A Year

February 3, 2010

ShopNBC's $400,000 man

ShopNBC is paying its new president, QVC and Macy’s veteran Bob Ayd, a base salary of $400,000, according to a filing with federal regulators Wednesday.

After the market closed, ShopNBC stealthily filed an 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Ayd’s compensation package. The 61-year-old, named the network’s president Feb. 1, will receive an annual base salary of $400,000, according to the filing.

He also “will have a fiscal year 2010 incentive opportunity to earn up to 65 percent of his annual base salary.” If we can translate that into English, we think he can get up to 65 percent of his salary, or $260,000 on top of his annual wages, as a bonus if he hits his numbers. ShopNBC is also relocating Ayd.

As part of the deal, ShopNBC granted Ayd options to purchase 350,000 shares of common stock at an exercise price equal to the fair market value on the date of grant — or $3.99 on Feb. 1 — 280,000 of which vest over three years and 70,000 of which vest upon his relocation to Minnesota.

Canned host Charla Rines

This all may not sit well with fans of veteran ShopNBC host Charla Rines, who was let go by the network in January. Presumably, as a old-timer at ShopNBC, Rines was making a good salary, which may have helped pave the way for her demise. Or her age could have done her in. Either way, many ShopNBC viewers are not happy, according to the posts on our blog on her exit.

Ayd signed a non-compete agreement, and will receive an amount equal to his base salary, namely $400,000, if he is terminated without cause during his first year of employment.

Ayd served as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at QVC domestic from 2006 to 2008. He also served as senior vice president of design Ddvelopment & global sourcing and brand development from 2005 to 2006, and as senior vice president of jewelry andfFashion from 2000 to 2004.

Ayd began his career at Macy’s in 1975 as a buyer of handbags, bodywear and footwear, launching a 20-year tenure that included promotion to numerous executive leadership positions, culminating with senior vice president in women’s sportswear. Ayd was an independent consultant from 2008 to 2009.

When Ayd was named ShopNBC president, CEO Keith Stewart voluntarily relinquished his title as president, while continuing as CEO and a director. Ayd reports to Stewart.

No. 3 ShopNBC Brings In Yet Another QVC Veteran, Bob Ayd, As President

January 28, 2010

ShopNBC president Bob Ayd

ShopNBC Thursday named Bob Ayd, a QVC and Macy’s veteran, president, reporting to CEO Keith Stewart.

As part of his new role, Ayd will oversee merchandising, planning, programming, broadcast operations and on-air talent.

“I am thrilled to be joining ShopNBC,” Ayd said in a prepared statement. “The culture is passionate, the focus is on the customer, and the opportunity at hand is golden. With already very exciting things happening at the company, I’m looking forward to doing my part in helping ShopNBC build on its progress to date while quickly ushering in a new decade of success.”

Ayd is the latest of a series of QVC executives that Stewart, himself a QVC alum, has brought over to ShopNBC as part of his team.

With three decades of experience, Ayd has an extensive background and track record, including executive leadership roles at multi-billion-dollar retailers QVC and Macy’s.

He was most recently consultin, but prior to that he served as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at QVC U.S. During his tenure at QVC, he also served as senior vice president, design development & global sourcing and brand development, and senior vice president of jewelry and fashion.

While at Macy’s, Ayd held a number of executive leadership positions including senior vice president in women’s
sportswear.

“We are excited to welcome Bob to the ShopNBC family,” Stewart said in a canned statement. “His fluent understanding of our business and world-class multichannel retailing expertise, coupled with the building blocks already in place at the company, will help accelerate our timeline to drive increased sales and profitability. Equally invaluable are Bob’s strong vendor relationships and industry contacts, which span the globe. We look forward to benefiting from his strong leadership, vast relationships and strategic guidance.”

Ayd will be granted inducement stock options Feb. 1 covering the right to purchase 350,000 shares of the company’s common stock. The options will have an exercise price equal to the closing price of the company’s common stock on the date of grant.

QVC’s Parent, Liberty Media Corp., Will Announce Fourth Quarter Earnings Feb. 25

January 26, 2010

Liberty Media Corp., QVC’s parent company, will release its fourth quarter earnings Feb. 25 at noon, the company said Tuesday.

Liberty Media president and CEO Greg Maffei will host the call, and discuss the company’s financial performance and may make observations regarding the company’s outlook.

In addition, the fourth quarter earnings conference call will be broadcast live via the Internet. All interested participants should visit the Liberty Media Corporation website at http://www.libertymedia.com/events to register for the Webcast.

Links to the press release and replays of the call will also be available on the Liberty Media Web site.

Former ShopNBC CEO Rene Aiu Scores $1.5 Settlement Of Breach-Of-Contract Suit Against The Network, Parent ValueVision

December 8, 2009

Former ShopNBC CEO Rene Aiu Has Reason To Be Smiling

We spent seven years covering courts in Jersey, and we just love writing about lawsuits. We’re getting our chance to do that today, because former ShopNBC president and CEO Rene Aiu has settled her litigation against the home shopping network for a tidy $1.5 million. Sweet.

ShopNBC’s parent company, ValueVision Media, filed a 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday disclosing the Dec. 1 settlement of the breach-of-contract lawsuit that Aiu filed back in Nov. 21 last year. ShopNBC will record a charge of $1,505,000 in the third quarter to pay the settlement.

According to the filing, Aiu will get gross cash payments of $875,000 for severance-pay claims; $250,000 relating to the sale of her residence; and $360,000 in attorneys’ fees. That adds up to $1,485,00 to us, not $1,505,000, but we can’t explain the small discrepancy. Maybe we did the math wrong.

Whatever. It looks like Aiu, who was hired by ShopNBC March 3, 2008, made out quite nicely. She was a veteran of HSN and something called Jupiter Shop Channel Japan when she came to ShopNBC, assigned to try to turnaround the troubled channel. That March and April, she recruited three other senior executives to create her management team. Cost for those four execs in fiscal 2008: $1.1 million.

But ShopNBC didn’t give Aiu much time to do her thing. Six months after she was hired, on Aug. 22, ShopNBC management “terminated” her and the other three new company officials. The board named chairman John Buck CEO, and hired QVC veteran Keith Stewart as president and chief operating officer.

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart

We were working at Multichannel News and covered ShopNBC’s second-quarter conference call in August 2008, when investors ripped Buck a new one (we couldn’t write that at Multi) for firing Aiu so quickly, without giving her a chance to do her thing. In all our years of reporting, we have never heard a more hostile and bitter conference call between investors and a company.

About four months later, Aiu sued ValueVision, i.e. ShopNBC. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Aiu alleged in the suit that Buck had given the OK to her turnaround plan, and to her hiring the three new execs. But Aiu charged that Buck was not a very happy camper when she suggested that compensation to ShopNBC officers and its directors be cut, “as a a sign of solidarity with long-suffering shareholders,” according to the Star Tribune.

The paper also reported that Aiu claimed that she and her new team learned that ShopNBC’s business among its best repeat customers had been eroding for years, and that the board was unaware of this looming problem.

The lawsuit alleged that when Aiu presented her findings and suggestions to Buck, her told her to can the new management team. A couple of days later, Aiu and the three senior execs she brought in were “terminated,” as they tend to say in lawsuits.

The Star Tribune said that Aiu’s suit alleged that Buck intimidated employees who disagreed with His Highness. The litigation also alleged that Buck hit vendors up for discounts.

In a nutshell, Aiu charged that she was shitcanned without good cause and that she was — how shall we say it — stiffed out of $2.1 million in severance pay, the Star Tribune reported.

Stewart was promoted to the CEO position on Jan. 27 — the day after Multichannel News pinkslipped us — and Buck went back to his old sole title of chairman.

Stewart brought in a group of fellowQVC alum, and they are actually doing a great job of mounting a turnaround at ShopNBC. The network is not out of the woods by a long shot, but Stewart has managed to diminish the flow of red ink from a river to a trickle.

FYI: ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Finale Gets Top Ratings And New Jersey’s Kurt Sutter Gets Third Season For Biker Drama

December 3, 2009

Kurt Sutter, Photo By Prashant Gupta, FX

Home shopping fans, we knew we’re off topic. But we had to follow-up briefly on the season finale of FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” and Kurt Sutter’s future with the cable network.

Tuesday’s Season Two wrap-up of “Sons” was cable’s No. 1 program for the evening, drawing 4.33 million viewers and 2.99 million adults 18 to 49, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The episode, written and directed by Sutter, was the most-watched ever for “Sons,” outdelivering its Season Two premiere, which attracted 4.29 million viewers. Sutter, a native of Clark, N.J., is the creator and executive producer of the drama about a California motorcycle club.

Sutter had some more good news, because FX has ordered 13 episodes for the show’s third season, which is set to start in September 2010, FX president and general manager John Landgraf said in a press release Wednesday.

Sutter also struck a deal with FX on a two-year extension to continue his services as showrunner/writer on “Sons.” And just as good, all the series regulars will be back next season. Hello Charlie Hunnam.

“This has been a wonderful ride and we’re just getting started,” Sutter said in a prepared statement. “I’m really proud of the work by our incredible cast and crew. The response this season from the fans and critics has been terrific and I can’t wait to get back to the writer’s room and start on Season Three.”

Comcast Has Started National Rollout of HSN’s Shop By Remote, With Service Already In 8 Million Of Its Homes

December 2, 2009

We reported it back on Nov. 12, but HSN and Comcast Wednesday officially announced that the nation’s largest cable operator will has started a nationwide rollout of Shop by Remote for the holiday season, with the service already in 8 million Comcast homes.

HSN’s Shop by Remote, which Cablevision Systems Corp. already offers, is an interactive television application that enables Comcast Digital cable customers to shop and make purchases with the home shopping network right from their remote control.

“Comcast is committed to bringing convenient, easy-to-use interactive TV applications on a national basis that will transform the way consumers interact with their televisions,” Todd Walker, Comcast’s Senior Vice President for Video Product Development, said in a prepared statement. “We are excited to have HSN join our growing line up of content partners, and other iTV applications that are live in Comcast homes today.”

HSN CEO Mindy Grossman

HSN president and CEO Mindy Grossman talked about the Comcast Shop By Remote launch during the home shopping channel’s third-quarter conference call in November.

Just in time for the holidays, Comcast Digital customers will be able to buy products from HSN with a few clicks of the remote. With an average purchase time of less than 60 seconds, customers also will be able to select the quantity, color, features and sizes with their remote.

“As a pioneer of electronic retail, HSN has been a driving force in transactional innovation for decades,” said Peter Ruben, HSN’s executive vice president of affiliate marketing and sales. “As we enter the height of the holiday shopping season, HSN is thrilled to be working with an industry leader such as Comcast to provide millions more viewers a faster and easier way to shop from home.”

In addition to Shop by Remote, Comcast is deploying several iTV applications that include: “Remind-Record” and “Request for Information” — new interactive features that Comcast customers can access on their TV using their remote control.

Remind-Record gives customers the ability to easily set a reminder or schedule a recording directly from an ad of an upcoming TV show or series. With Request for Information (RFI), viewers can request more information about a product or opt-in to receive free samples, coupons and services.

Comcast has successfully deployed iTV applications, including Shop by Remote, in more than 8 million homes across the country to date. Comcast iTV applications are powered by Enhanced Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) technology, a standard software platform developed by the cable industry to easily deploy interactive applications using existing systems and set-top boxes.

Comcast has 23.8 million cable customers (we’re one of them), 15.7 million high-speed Internet customers, and 7.4 million Comcast Digital Voice customers.

ShopNBC’s Web Site Racks Up Most-Traffic-Ever For A Day On Cyber Monday

December 2, 2009

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart

ShopNBC’s strategic focus on the Internet during the kick-off of the holiday shopping season apparently worked, with the network’s Web site seeing its highest traffic ever for a day on Cyber Monday, the company said Wednesday.

On Cyber Monday ShopNBC.com registered its highest traffic day year-to-date, with 114,600 unique visitors to the site.

In addition to surpassing 2008’s Cyber Monday traffic by 14 percent, Web penetration accounted for an industry-leading 48 percent of the total company sales.

The increase in traffic to the site, along with its extended product assortment and promotional offerings, led to an 18 percent
increase in sales versus last year’s same period. Total orders on ShopNBC.com increased 40 percent over the previous year.

ShopNBC’s expanded Internet merchandising initiatives and targeted Web promotions on Cyber Monday resulted in a strong response from new and active customers across several key metrics, according to the network. These positive results provided a strong finish to a successful Black Friday and an extended Holiday Shopping Weekend sales event for ShopNBC.

On Black Friday ShopNBC.com achieved a 51 percent increase in conversion over last year’s Black Friday event, with an increase of 20 percent in Internet sales for the company over the same period last year.

By introducing over 400 new online-only SKUs from TAG Heuer and Gucci watches, brand-name electronics, home decor and more, the company increased its total orders on ShopNBC.com by 73 percent over the previous year.

Cyber Monday was the finale to ShopNBC’s Holiday Shopping Weekend, which extended the traditional Black Friday into a four day gift-focused promotional event. The company bookended the two sales events with an entire weekend of gift-giving-focused programming.

ShopNBC also credited its ValueShipping initiative, which offers the customer one-low-rate shipping for all purchases made within a 24-hour period, for helping to drive its success Black Friday weekend.

“During the kick-off to the holiday shopping season, we took this opportunity to strategically direct the customer to our Internet channel,” ShopNBC president and CEO Keith Stewart said in a prepared statement. “As a result, the customer reacted very positively, and ShopNBC.com delivered its most impressive gains across the board since the beginning of my tenure as CEO.”

Added Stewart: “Our targeted yet integrated multimedia promotional activity and extended web product assortment, complemented by ValueShipping and a Jan. 31 extended return policy, enticed the customer to tune in, browse and shop our brand with total confidence. It’s all about connecting emotionally with the customer and making their holiday shopping experience easy and entertaining through a gift-focused strategy. We look forward to continuing to delight the customer as they discover many more new and wonderful opportunities on ShopNBC throughout the holiday season.”

ShopNBC.com new and active customer counts in November were up 60 percent and 54 percent, respectively, largely driven by the holiday shopping weekend event, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Internet sales in November were up 31 percent versus last year, with dot-com customer activity outpacing TV customer growth for the first time in the company’s history.

“We are pleased with these positive results, as the Internet continues to prove to be a highly complementary and powerful growth vehicle for the company,” Stewart said.

Jersey Guy Kurt Sutter Ends FX’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ With Several Cliffhangers, As He Writes, Directs And Acts In The Season Finale

December 2, 2009

Kurt Sutter, Photo By Prashant Gupta, FX

Jersey boy Kurt Sutter did himself, and the state, proud with the finale Tuesday of his creation, FX’s “Sons of Anarchy.”

Sutter, a native of Clark, N.J, wrote, directed, executive produced and even acted in the 13th episode of the second season of “SOA,” as fans of the show refer to it.

The episode was called “Na Triobloidi,” Gaelic for “the troubles,” a term referring to the period of Protestant-Catholic conflict in Northern Ireland from the 1960s to the late 1990s.

We profiled Sutter in October for NewJerseyNewsroom.com, writing two companion stories, one an interview with him and the other on his views about the TV industry.

We did the phone interview after Sutter — who in his bio said he was “raised in the soul-numbing, homogenous suburbs of Central New Jersey” — had just finished directing the “SOA” finale. We asked him how he thought viewers would respond to the season’s end of this tale about a motorcycle club in Charming, Calif.

Center, Charlie Hunnam, right Ron Perlman, Photo By Prashant Gupta, FX

“I think people will like it,” Sutter said. “The trick with the finale is often the same trick you have with the premiere episode: Honoring the arc that existed before you and to bring some closure to that, and enticing the audience and setting up something they potentially might want to continue on the ride with.”

Sutter, Photo By Prashant Gupta, FX

He went on, “And I think I was able to that with last year’s finale and hopefully we’ll do the same with this year’s finale, so there is some conclusion to the arc that we played out and an introduction of something new – not so much as a cliffhanger so much as it is thematically where we might lead to if there’s a third season.”

In fact, the finale episode had lots of action and several cliffhangers.

Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal, Photo By Prashant Gupta, FX

Henry Rollins, the punk rocker who played the White Supremacist who raped the main character’s mother, Gemma, is shot to death by the son Jax, played by Charlie Hunnam. Motorcycle matriarch Gemma is played by Katey Sagal, who is married to Sutter.

In the episode, Gemma kills the daughter of the brains behind the White Supremacy movement — and instigator of the rape — Ethan Zobelle. The daughter had lured Gemma to the attack. As the show ends, Gemma is on the lam.

Zobelle, played by Adam Arkin, is about to be killed by the SOA when they have to take off because Jax’s baby son has been kidnapped by an IRA guy who the SOA has been gunrunning wth.

The villain escapes in a boat with the babe-in-peril as Jax and the gang watch helplessly on the dock. Meanwhile, Zobelle flees the U.S. in a chartered jet.

Sutter as Big Otto

Showrunner Sutter, who started out his career as an actor, has appeared in several of the episodes this season, playing Big Otto, a SOA member who is in prison. He is beaten by White Supremacists, who stick a broomstick in his eye. But he gets his revenge at the end, when he stabs his attacker in the neck.

Sutter doesn’t have to do much physically to pass for a SOA member, with his long hair, tribal tattoos and rugged good looks.

And here’s another “SOA” tidbit for you: The evil AFT agent June Stahl is played by actress Ally Walker, who is married to FX president John Landgraf.

Here’s the blog we did about our experience with Sutter.

We’re going to miss “SOA” on Tuesday nights.

QVC PR Dept. Gets Cute With Headline: ‘Not Just Another Manic Monday’ As QVC.com Attracts Record 1 Million Users For Cyber Monday

December 1, 2009

On Cyber Monday QVC.com achieved its highest traffic day in its 13-year history, setting a record for unique visitors, with more than 1 million, breaking last year’s record of more than 842,000 visitors, QVC said Tuesday.

QVC.com also set a record this past week, Nov. 23 to 30, in unique visitors, realizing more than 3.5 million unique visitors from about 2.8 million last year – a 26 percent increase.

In 2008, a record 85 million people shopped via the Internet on Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation. If QVC is a bellwether, this year’s Cyber Monday may set yet another record for Internet commerce activity.

“QVC.com is an integral part of our business, accounting for more than 30 percent of QVC’s total U.S. revenues, and delivering a rich multimedia shopping experience to our customers,” QVC president and CEO Mike George said in a canned statement.

“As one of the top general merchant Internet sites – both in terms of sales volume and service excellence, QVC.com has emerged as a real destination for millions of smart Web shoppers,” he said. “We’re thrilled by the overwhelming response we’ve received from our customers, and trust that they will continue to make us a preferred destination for their shopping.”

Cyber Monday followed a busy, record-breaking holiday weekend at QVC, in which more than 815,000 shoppers were received and more than 60,000 new customers were welcomed. In what turned out to be QVC’s largest Black Friday ever, it rang up more than $32 million in orders – a 60 percent increase over last year’s Black Friday sales.

Additionally, QVC.com achieved more than $13 million in orders – a more than 100 percent growth over last year’s Black Friday sales.