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Hix Leaves Planar; Q2 Loss Reported

Planar, which became the corporate parent of the Runco and Vidikron last year, said in its second-quarter financial report that home theater division head Scott Hix is leaving the company to pursue other interests.

Hix’s responsibilities will be assumed by Gerry Perkel, Planar’s CEO, who was said to be a Runco products user and admirer with a grasp on the home theater business.

Planar said the move was made as a result of “the recent slowdown in the home theater revenue, partially due to the U.S. economy and partially due to the company’s integration challenges.” It will “consolidate management in an effort to reduce cost.”

In a statement announcing the change, Perkel said: “I want to thank Scott for his tremendous efforts in both launching the Home Theater business at Planar and his hard work in the acquisition of Runco. I respect what Scott has accomplished in this industry and we are parting on friendly terms. I wish him well in all future endeavors.”

Planar reported a loss of $5.2 million in its second quarter, with revenue of $69.8 million, reflecting a 28 percent growth rate.

The company reported a loss of $3.9 million in the same quarter last year.

The higher loss this period was attributed to lower-than-expected growth in the home theater, control-room and signage businesses.

The company said it would be cutting about 80 full-time and temporary employees from its 788-person workforce.

As discussed at the recent Runco Dealer Getaway (see TWICE, April 7, p. 4), Planar acknowledged early problems in the integration of Runco with Planar, although many of those issues were said to have been rectified. The business has also seen challenges related to the economic downturn.

Perkel, who will take over as general manager of the unit, will look to restore growth, off a revenue decline of 25 percent Q1 2008, and presented 16 percent of Planar’s revenue in second quarter. Some of the announced job cuts will come from Runco’s Union City, Calif., operations, the company said.