Darren Herft is stepping down as CEO of Australian music streaming service Guvera following a tough span of bad news, which included the company’s IPO being rejected and the abandoning of half of its markets. The Courier-Mail is reporting that Herft is out and his co-founder Claes Loberg is in.
“I am stepping in to the role of CEO,” Loberg told the newspaper, without pinpointing when that will be. “Darren will still have a seat on the board and work with us going forward. My focus as CEO will be to further develop our platform in our top markets including India and Indonesia, as well as my current research into China.”
Herft, Loberg and Brad Christiansen founded Guvera in 2008 and launched two years later as an MP3 site, later evolving into a traditional streaming service with both ad-based and premium tiers. Licensing agreements with all the major labels in hand, Guvera expanded beyond Australia into India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Mexico, Singapore and the United States, among other territories.
But problems have mounted over the past two years. According to a prospectus published in June, the company lost $81 million last year and expects losses of $55.7 million in fiscal year 2016. The company’s $80 million IPO was rejected by the Australian Securities Exchange in June and it has since placed two of its subsidiaries, Guvera Australia and Guv Services, both of which focus on international markets, under administration.
After its IPO plan fell apart, Guvera announced that it would be trimming the amount of markets where it operates to five: Australia, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. “After conducting a strategic evaluation of our business, we have decided that in order to achieve sustainable and long-term goals, we will focus our efforts in key countries where we feel we can return the greatest value to our shareholders,” the company writes in a message announcing the closure to U.S. users.