SeaChange's Raghu RauAfter serving as interim CEO since December, SeaChange International officially made Raghu Rau its permanent CEO yesterday.

Rau, who will continue as a member of SeaChange’s board of directors, took over as interim CEO when founder, chairman and CEO William Styslinger retired late last year.

“Raghu’s leadership and excellent grasp of our business was apparent from the moment he assumed responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the company. In a matter of just a few months, he has dramatically improved SeaChange’s overall operations and its ability to serve global markets, to the immediate benefit of our customers, as well as our shareholders and employees,” said Thomas Olson, chairman of the board for SeaChange.

After Styslinger left, SeaChange said it would conduct a search for its new CEO, but the board decided Rau was the right man for the job.

“Raghu accurately assessed our organization, and then moved decisively, initiating actions to ensure SeaChange’s continued leadership in the personalized multi-screen video market, such as shedding non-core businesses and realigning our workforce to enable more coordination and collaboration,” Olson said. “The board, having retained the services of CTPartners to assist, conducted an extensive CEO search over several months, including both internal and external candidates. We were fortunate to have many very talented individuals interested in being considered for the SeaChange CEO position.

“However, given Raghu’s impressive background, together with the confidence he has inspired both inside the company and with customers and investors, the board decided he is the best choice for the permanent assignment. The positive momentum that has been visible since Raghu took the helm will now continue without pause or interruption.”

As interim CEO, Rau cut costs at SeaChange and bore down on the company’s new focus as a software business. In March, SeaChange sold its broadcast server and storage business to an investment group, with the standalone operation renamed XOR Media.

In March, SeaChange’s decision to exit the server sector contributed to its fourth-quarter loss.

Rau, formerly senior vice president of global marketing and strategy at Motorola, is also a partner in Ramius, an investment firm with a substantial minority stake in SeaChange.

Two years ago, Ramius induced SeaChange to expand its board from six members to eight and secured the two new seats for two of its partners: Rau and Edward Terino, president of GET Advisory Services.

“My decision to continue as the CEO expresses my utmost confidence in SeaChange’s transformation strategy to become a pure-play software provider,” Rau said. “I intend to focus, with a renewed sense of urgency, on driving shareholder value by focusing on improving financial performance; operational excellence; and delivering high-quality, next-generation products to our customers.”