CEO of Utah’s ZAGG quits unexpectedly
Tech • Pedersen says others better suited to grow accessories maker he helped found.
Published: August 17, 2012 09:57PM
Updated: August 21, 2012 04:06PM
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Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Robert G. Pedersen II, co-founder of ZAGG Inc., resigned as the company's chief executive officer and chairman on Aug. 17, 2012. Here, he shows off some of his products in the ZAGG headquarters in Salt Lake County on Friday, January 14, 2011

Salt Lake County-based ZAGG Inc., which produces accessories and screen protectors for mobile devices, announced Friday that the company’s co-founder and CEO has stepped down.

Robert G. Pedersen II’s resignation announcement comes just two weeks after the company reported record second-quarter financial results.

Pedersen said he resigned in order to focus on his family, his church and a family foundation. But he also pointed to a 25 percent drop in the value of the company’s shares after its guidance for this year did not meet analyst’s expectations.

“Running a public company is different than running a private company,” he said Friday evening in a telephone interview from Alaska where he was vacationing with family. “And running a $250 million company is different than running a company going from zero to $250 [million in annual revenue].”

Pedersen said the company raised its guidance on future revenues and profits but “it wasn’t enough for the analysts.”

Randy Hales, the current president and COO, will be interim CEO, the company said. Pedersen called him a “great operator.”

“I think he’s better equipped to take the company from $250 million to a billion.”

“We thank our founder, Robert Pedersen, for his contribution in building ZAGG Inc. into a leading company in the mobile device accessories market and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Cheryl Larabee, ZAGG’s new chair of the board of directors, said Friday in a statement.

Hales and Larabee were unavailable for comment Friday.

The company posted second-quarter financial results that included $61.9 million in revenue, a 59 percent increase over the same period a year ago. ZAGG also stated Friday that it still expects to generate revenue of $256 million this year, as well as earnings after taxes of $56 million to $61 million.

Pedersen was a co-founder of ZAGG with Phillip Chipping, who came up with the idea of protecting mobile phone screens with the same military-grade plastic that was used on helicopter blades. Their first product, invisibleSHIELD, was born, and the company began in 2005.

In 2007, the company went public with an additional $2.5 million in funding and has since branched out into headphones, cases and other accessories for mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad. The company’s latest products have included portable keyboards with built-in cases for the iPad. More than 17 million invisibleSHIELDs have been sold in more than 20,000 stores worldwide.

“It’s been crazy fun,” Pedersen said in a 2011 interview The Salt Lake Tribune about the company’s success. “It’s definitely fun to go from zero to 200 employees.”

ZAGG shares were slightly up in trading Friday at $8.42 per share.

vince@sltrib.com

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