In a surprising move Opera has announced that, Las Boilsen will be replacing Jon von Tetzchner as the Chief Executing Officer. Jon von Tetzchner co-founded Opera in 1995 and has served as the CEO since. He will continue to serve Opera full time and assume the role of a strategic advisor.
Jon von Tetzchner welcomed the new CEO and stated that, “Lars Boilesen brings both a very significant industry experience and a deep understanding of Opera to the role as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. In short, Opera’s spirit runs through his veins.
Boilesen is not new to Opera. He previously worked for Opera from 2000 to 2005 as Executive Vice President, Sales. In 2005, Boilesen joined Alcatel-Lucent as CEO of the Nordics and the Baltics. Prior to assuming the role of Opera’s CEO, Boilesen served on Opera Software’s Board of Directors as Vice Chairman.
Although Opera didn’t explain what prompted the change of guard, Tetzchner stated that, “My decision to assume a new role in Opera is based on a lengthy consideration process. As outgoing Chief Executive, I leave confident in the company’s continued leadership in key markets, our strong management team, our ongoing commitment to innovation, and our robust financial foundation”.
Opera has a dominating presence on mobile devices. However, it has failed to gain mass popularity in the desktop market. It currently has more than 90 million users and employs 750 people around the world. After delivering strong results over over several quarters, Opera slumped to a surprise loss in the third quarter of 2009. Opera’s performance was below market expectations and resulted in a sharp drop in Opera’s shares. According to revenue projections, Opera would be at best able to break even in the fourth quarter.