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RealNetworks‘ Thomas Nielsen stepped down today as chief executive and president. Rob Glaser, the company’s chairman, has been appointed by the board as the interim CEO.

“The board and Thomas mutually agreed that the CEO position wasn’t the right fit,” Glaser said in a press release Tuesday. “We thank Thomas for the contributions he has made in moving RealNetworks forward and wish him well in his new endeavors.”

The move spells trouble for the Seattle-based Internet media company. RealNetworks recently sold its video software and a number of its patents to Intel for $120 million amid rumors that it is struggling to remain profitable. Nielsen, who was brought on board to carve out a new product strategy for the company, told VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi in January that he was initially optimistic about the deal as it allowed Real to continue using the patents in current and future products.

The software company told the Puget Sound Business Journal that Nielsen is not looking for a position elsewhere. Prior to Real, Nielsen enjoyed lengthy stints at Adobe and Microsoft.

This is not the first time the company has experienced rapid turnaround in its upper ranks. VentureBeat reported in spring 2011 about the early departure of Bob Kimball, who resigned as the company’s chief executive after little more than a year on the job.

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