As I reported earlier today it would, the RadiumOne board has fired its CEO, Gurbaksh Chahal, who is also chairman and founder.
“At a board meeting yesterday evening, RadiumOne’s board of directors voted to terminate the employment of Gurbaksh Chahal as CEO and Chairman of the company,” the statement released read, in part.
It appears from the statement that he is also off the board, although the bio on the company website still lists him as CEO and chairman.
COO Bill Lonergan, who has worked with Chahal for a long time, was appointed CEO of the advertising tech company, the company said in a statement.
While the statement did not give a reason for the termination, sources said it was due to Chahal’s conviction for battery and domestic violence in San Francisco earlier this month.
As I reported earlier, the other directors of the advertising tech company had been mulling what to do about Chahal and the controversy sparked by his guilty plea to two misdemeanors related to an incident involving his girlfriend at his San Francisco apartment.
Sources with knowledge of the situation said that the reason the board decision took so long is that it is legally complex, due to Chahal’s massive stake in the company that gives him a large amount of control over RadiumOne.
They were also hoping that Chahal would resign voluntarily. No such luck, if you can use that cliche in this ugly situation.
Investors — including Crosslink Capital, Adams Street Partners, Trinity Ventures and DFJ Esprit — have sunk $34 million into the company and have hoped to take it public next year. Chahal was the initial angel investor for RadiumOne in late 2009 and is a successful and longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur, scoring a big win when he sold his last ad startup, BlueLithium, to Yahoo in 2007 for $300 million.
It’s not clear if this sets up a legal challenge by Chahal, who has long held sway over the board. Whether he can be fired at all has been suggested by some, but it looks like the board thinks it has the right to do so.
In a riveting blog post earlier today, Chahal called himself CEO of RadiumOne, so he may resist the dismissal. Besides the significant shares in the company, he is well known — just read the post he did defending himself — for his aggressive business personality.
Since the firing news has been out, though, Chahal has said nothing further on his Twitter account.
But let’s be clear — this is probably not over yet and there may be legal challenges by Chahal.
That’s why the board has hired outside PR crisis firm Brunswick Group to handle the communications situation for it. I had sent a request for comment from all players, including Chahal.
Here is the statement:
RadiumOne terminates Gurbaksh Chahal as CEO and Chairman
Bill Lonergan appointed as CEO
San Francisco (April 27, 2014) – At a board meeting yesterday evening, RadiumOne’s board of directors voted to terminate the employment of Gurbaksh Chahal as CEO and Chairman of the company. Bill Lonergan, the company COO, will take over as CEO of the Company immediately. Bill has an extraordinary professional background and has helped build Blue Lithium and RadiumOne into industry leading brands. We are confident he will continue Radium One’s impressive trajectory.
RadiumOne builds software that automates media buying, making big data actionable for digital marketers.
RadiumOne uses programmatic advertising to connect brands to their next customers by incorporating valuable first-party data about behaviors, actions and interests demonstrated by consumers across web and mobile touch points.
Based in San Francisco, RadiumOne has offices across the US, Canada, Europe and Australia.
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