Raleigh-Based Mobile Content Firm CEO Resigns
Posted October 5, 2006 9:20 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Gary Ban, chief executive officer of mobile content firm
, has left the company.
Oasys, which provides content ranging from ringtones to interactive games, said Ban had "resigned effectively immediately" in a statement issued Thursday.
Bernard Stolar, a member of the Oasys board, will take on what the company called "an active business role" in Oasys and also will serve as lead director of the board. Oasys said it had launched a search for a new CEO.
Stolar is a veteran of the interactive entertainment industry, having been involved in the bringing of the Sega Dreamcast and Sony Playstation game platforms to market. He also is a former president of Mattel Interactive. Stolar currently is chairman of the board at Adscape Media, which focuses on advertising placed in games.
Ban's decision came after Oasys (OTCBB: OYSM) stock fell to a 52-week low of 75 cents this week. Oasys' value has tumbled from a 52-week high of $2.95 just a year ago.
The decline in the stock came despite recent content offerings such as a ringtone based on actor Mel Gibson's expletive-filled rant following a recent arrest in California. The offering generated international publicity for Oasys and led to another ringtone based on the antics of actress Paris Hilton.
Ban, who took over as CEO in February of 2004, had led Oasys through an aggressive repositioning in recent months. He changed the company's name to Oasys Mobile from Summus and had its Web site remodeled extensively to reflect trends, fashion and content embraced by a younger audience with the theme of "Your Mobile Style."
This summer, two Oasys games (''Texas Hold'em by Phil Hellmuth'' and ''UNO Challenge'') ranked among the top 10 selling mobile games.
Oasys also recently signed a deal to develop a game with New York Yankee star Alex Rodriguez.
Under Ban, Oasys developed new technology called "lockers" that enabled wireless customers to store mobile content, such as ringtones, that often would be lost when consumers switched service providers.
Oasys works with 20 wireless carriers in the U.S. and another 55 globally.
"I have enjoyed my tenure at Oasys, and am honored to have taken part in its growth, and helping lay the groundwork for a bright future," Ban said in a statement. "With the company now poised to be a true innovator in mobile media, it seems timely for me to redirect my energies to my family and other avenues."
Despite the many changes Ban made, losses mounted for the company. Oasys reported a $3.87 million loss for the first six months of the year, more than double the $1.78 million loss for the same time frame in 2005. Helping drive up costs was $658,000 for stock options.
Revenues did increase to $3.93 million over the first half of the year, an increase from $3.78 million in 2005.
Oasys suffered a major revenue setback when its contract with Sports Illustrated expired in March of this year. Oasys reported $982,000 in revenue alone for sale of SI swimsuit model photos in the first half of 2005.
Oasys chose not to renew the SI contract when competition forced up the price Oasys would have to pay, Ban told WRAL Local Tech Wire earlier this year.
"We looked at renewing the contract, but the pricing and licensing fees were too onerous for us," Ban said. "We felt like we wouldn't get the return on investment that would be necessary.... Unlike other mobile content companies, we will not put up content just to have content."
In the statement issued by Oasys, the company said Stolar would focus on "forging strategic, revenue-generating partnerships".