Hastings Stepping Back From CEO Role At BrightSign; But Only To Work Instead As Its CTO
July 11, 2023 by Dave Haynes
Jeff Hastings is stepping back from his longtime role as CEO of the media player firm BrightSign, but sticking with the company as co-CEO through 2023 and then CTO in the new year.
His co-pilot will be Steve Durkee, who if I have the right guy from LinkedIn has been with manufacturer Legrand I AV for several years, most recently as its President.
It will be a bit of a surprise to the industry, as Hastings has been very much front and center for the company. He is that rare CEO who could also function as a sales engineer for his product, whereas many CEOs are very good at running companies but can’t get too deep into the weeds on the technical side of the products.
Durkee takes on the new gig on August 1st.
With great pleasure, we introduce Steve Durkee, who will be assuming the role of CEO. Steve brings a wealth of experience, expertise, and a proven track record of success in the professional A/V space. His strategic thinking, innovative mindset, and strong leadership skills will allow us to achieve the growth and vision needed to lead our company to new heights.
Together Jeff Hastings and Steve Durkee will co-CEO the company for the remainder of 2023. On January 1, 2024, Jeff will assume the role of Chief Technology Officer within BrightSign and dedicate his efforts toward the development of products/services that align with the key markets that BrightSign serves today and new markets in the future.
In addition to his role as CTO, Jeff will remain on the BrightSign Board and will continue to be a significant investor in the company. Jeff’s dedication, vision, and unwavering commitment have been instrumental in driving our company’s growth and success over the past 14 years and we truly appreciate the significant contributions that have been made during his tenure as CEO.
We firmly believe that this change in leadership marks an exciting chapter for BrightSign. Under Steve’s guidance as CEO and Jeff’s as CTO, we will continue to build upon our existing strengths, accelerate our growth, and embrace emerging opportunities in the ever-evolving digital signage space.
I don’t know the back story here. Sometimes savvy technologists aren’t great business people, but in this case, Hastings has been very successful in growing the company from a Roku spin-out to pretty much its own category in digital signage hardware, shipping roughly 1,200 units a day. That’s peanuts for consumer products, but a LOT for this relatively small industry.
There isn’t a CTO role at the company right now, so it might be the simple case that Hastings realized he couldn’t run the company and also function as something of a CTO – so they’ve brought on someone who can take that part on. Co-CEO arrangements can be weird, but this has a defined start and end, so it looks more like a graceful transition thing.
Jeff’s a super-smart guy, and I’m sure the BrightSign team, partners and customers are happy he’s just rejigging his role and not punching out.