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ChyronHego CEO retiring at end of 2013

ChyronHego CEO Michael Wellesley-Wesley, next to a bank

ChyronHego CEO Michael Wellesley-Wesley, next to a bank of monitors in the company's main demo suite in Melville, NY on August 13, 2013 Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

ChyronHego Corp., the Melville company that pioneered the television news crawl but has seen growth stagnate in recent years, said its chief executive will retire at the end of the year.

His designated successor headed the Swedish company the former Chyron acquired in May.

Michael Wellesley-Wesley, 60, will retire on Dec. 31, after 10 years at Chyron, which changed its name after the acquisition. Johan Apel, 40, who led Hego Aktiebolag, will take over as CEO on Jan. 1. He has served as ChyronHego's president and chief operating officer since the purchase. Hego specialized in developing real-time graphics products for the broadcast and sports industries.

"Johan is superbly well qualified to develop and execute the vision, the strategies and operating concepts for ChyronHego," said Wellesley-Wesley, who will remain on the company's board.

Chyron, which produces software and hardware that allows broadcast, cable and online companies to create their own graphics, no doubt is hoping to revive its fortunes.

It introduced the now ubiquitous news crawl that streams at the bottom of TV news broadcasts. But the company was last profitable in 2008, the same year the media industry began shrinking because of the recession. The company's net income for 2008 was $17.8 million. Last year, it posted a loss of $22.3 million.

By combining Chyron's news focus with Hego's sports emphasis, the merger positions ChyronHego to recover lost ground and more, Wellesley-Wesley said.

The company's stock closed at $1.51, down 8 cents in Nasdaq trading Thursday. The shares have rebounded from trading as low as 50 cents late last year, but are still far from their 1980s trading peak of over $100.

Hego was an attractive merger partner. Its focus on sports production in Northern European markets had shielded it from the recession so that its revenue has grown every year since 2008, Apel said. And Hego wanted to increase its holdings in American markets.

Chyron, for its part, saw great potential in Hego's image-tracking technology to locate players in sports arenas in real time and its virtual graphics, which look as if they exist in real scenes.

The combined company has 170 employees, including about 60 on Long Island. With offices in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia, ChyronHego is considering adding jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, Wellesley-Wesley said.

Michael Kupinski, director of research at the securities firm Noble Financial, said the merger bodes well for ChyronHego.

"I believe that [the company is] on a cusp to turn toward profitability, probably in the fourth quarter," he said.


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