Management shake-up at Riverdeep

29 May 2003

A senior vice president at Riverdeep has stepped down from the company and a Dublin-based executive has been promoted to head up R&D at the company amidst ongoing rumours of monthly layoffs.

An internal Riverdeep memo addressed by CEO Barry O’Callaghan to staff revealed that executive vice president of marketing Joe Roberts has decided to step down from the company.

Roberts was president of the e-learning software firm Broderbund, which Riverdeep acquired last August for $57.2m from Gores Technology Group, a US-based international acquisition and management firm. Roberts was instrumental in the strategic direction and profitability of Broderbund, which has established brands in the e-learning market for secondary level students, and he held senior management roles at Mattel Corporation and Charles Schwab.

Dublin-based executive Fiona O’Carroll is to be promoted to executive vice president of R&D, with responsibility for all product development, and she will be re-located to Riverdeep’s US headquarters.

In an internal memo seen by, CEO Barry O’Callaghan said the company had embarked on an “aggressive recruitment process” for a vice president of marketing to replace Roberts.

“This person will streamline the systems and processes and re-energise the marketing team to drive rapid profitable, growth and to win market share,” O’Callaghan said.

In April, Hertal, the management buyout (MBO) team at Riverdeep announced that company shareholders had accepted the proposed bid and a deal was closed after months of offers and counteroffers. The vehicle established to carry out the MBO – Hertal Acquisitions, which is led by Riverdeep chief executive, Barry O’Callaghan – received 94pc of shares required for the buyout. The buyout had an estimated value of US$376m.

In addition, understands Riverdeep has been laying off numbers of staff each month around the mid-month payday mark.

By John Kennedy