Thomas Clarke, longtime chief executive of the financial news Web site, abruptly leaves, “effective immediately.”
Friday brought more tumult for CNBC anchor Jim Cramer, when the chief executive of his online financial news site, The Street.com, resigned.
The company announced Friday that Thomas Clarke, TheStreet.com’s CEO for the past decade, would be leaving, effective immediately. He’s been temporarily replaced by Daryl Otte, a longtime director on the company’s board, who will serve as chief until the search committee, which he is leading, finds a new CEO.
Outsized TV personality and chairman of the board Jim Cramer issued a boilerplate statement on Mr. Clarke’s departure, saying only, “I want to thank Tom for his long-time service to the Company and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
The abrupt nature of Mr. Clarke’s departure only adds to the company’s troubles in the current bear market. Its stock dropped below $2 per share this week, down from $9.50 per share a year ago.
The stock in recent years had traded as high as $16 per share in December of 2007, but has suffered with the decline in the media and advertising markets. Its success was tied closely to Mr. Cramer’s popularity, and the recent heavy criticism of his bombastic television personality may be reflected in the company’s performance.
Mr. Cramer was one of the biggest cheerleaders for the bull market through his show Mad Money. Since the market’s collapse last year, he’s come under heavy criticism for encouraging investors to believe that firms such as Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Wachovia and Citigroup were sound investments, when they were instead teetering on the edge of collapse.
He caught flack last fall for creating market hysteria in October when he commanded viewers to “get out of the stock market now.” He later clarified his stance, saying that investors should take out of the market any money they think they’ll need for the next five years.
He has been in a television talk-show feud with The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart for much of this year, appearing Thursday night on Mr. Stewart’s Comedy Central show, where he was mocked for the better part of 20 minutes.
A Comedy Central spokeswoman said Friday that show featuring Mr. Cramer drew 2.3 million total viewers, making it second most-watched episode this year and one of the top 10 most-watched episodes in the program's history.
Mr. Cramer co-founded TheStreet.com in 1996. When they took the company went public in 1999, it was valued at $60 per share, giving the company a market cap of about $1 billion.
Seriously, it seems everything is starting to crumble for this guy...