Way back in 2005 when TiVo Co-Founder and CEO Mike Ramsay stepped down, replaced by current CEO Tom Rogers, TiVo made an official announcement, there were statements, etc. I guess a lot has changed in seven years, as news of Co-Founder and CTO Jim Barton’s resignation was limited to an SEC filing made last Friday. It is a pretty dry document to mark the end of over a decade’s worth of work with TiVo:
ITEM 5.02. DEPARTURE OF DIRECTORS OR CERTAIN OFFICERS; ELECTION OF DIRECTORS; APPOINTMENT OF CERTAIN OFFICERS; COMPENSATORY ARRANGEMENTS OF CERTAIN OFFICERS.
(b) On March 14, 2012, James Barton resigned from his position as Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President for TiVo Inc. effective March 16, 2012.
(e) In connection with Mr. Barton’s resignation, we plan to enter into a consulting agreement with him to continue to provide certain consulting services related to patent matters, litigation, and certain technical matters to the company until March 15, 2015, unless earlier terminated by either Mr. Barton or the company. During the term of his consulting agreement, Mr. Barton shall be paid $25,000 per month. During the consulting agreement, Mr. Barton will continue to vest in his current equity awards. Mr. Barton shall also receive COBRA premium reimbursements for continued medical, vision, and dental benefits for himself and his dependents for the maximum period of time under which Mr. Barton remains eligible under COBRA during the term of his consulting agreement and should the term of the consulting agreement extend past such eligibility period Mr. Barton shall be entitled to reimbursement of expenses up to the amount paid by him under COBRA for the remaining term of his consulting agreement. Upon expiration of the consulting agreement, all of Mr. Barton’s vested equity awards shall remain vested and remain exercisable for the lesser of their original term or one year from such date of expiration. In the event the consulting agreement is terminated prior to the expiration of the initial term by the company other than for good reason (as defined in the consulting agreement) or by Mr. Barton for good reason (as defined in the consulting agreement) or upon his death or a change in control of the company (as defined in the agreement), in addition to any payments owed to him under the agreement through the date of termination, all of Mr. Barton’s unvested equity awards shall immediately vest and remain exercisable for the lesser of their original term or one year from such date of termination.
The foregoing descriptions of Mr. Barton’s consulting agreement with the company are qualified in their entirety by reference to the applicable provisions of the agreement, which will be filed as an exhibit to the company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ending April 30, 2012.
As you can see he’s remaining on as a consultant for $25K a month and health benefits, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at. But it sounds like the primary focus will be on having him support TiVo’s ongoing patent litigation efforts, not surprising as Barton was instrumental in developing much of TiVo’s patented technology.
Deadline.com published a statement from TiVo CEO Tom Rogers:
“We are extremely grateful to Jim for his years of dedication and his commitment to innovation that he has provided to TiVo since its founding. We are pleased that he will remain on in an advisory capacity and look forward to working with him in this new capacity in the future.”
They also report that TiVo states Barton“is headed off to pursue his next ‘big idea’”, so perhaps we’ll be seeing more from him. That’s something to watch for.
I don’t expect this will have any real impact on TiVo. Executives come and go at corporations all the time, and if Barton built a solid team during his tenure they’ll be able to keep operating just fine after his departure. So this isn’t good or bad news, just news. Still, it seems like the end of an era having Barton leave TiVo since he and Ramsay were the driving forces in founding the company.