The funny thing about rockets is sometimes they crash. Once a poster child for the fast-growing programmatic audience-buying marketplace, Rocket Fuel is no longer soaring -- at least not as fast as it had before it became a publicly traded company. And investors have noticed. The company’s stock closed today at $8.91 per share, down from a 52-week high of $38.10, driven by a loss of investor confidence that it could sustain its previous momentum.
It hasn’t helped that the company is sending weak signals to the market, including turnover of (both co-founder and CEO George John, and [x+1]’s John Nardone) its senior management team and now a round of cost-cutting that will reduce its workforce by 11%.“The absence of a permanent CEO remains the dominant near-term issue,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Dan Salmon wrote following the company’s announcement, adding: “We imagine the board is seeking a candidate whose views are aligned with the new cost-conscious strategy, but the vacancy remains an overhang until the position is formally filled.”