GoPro’s going south, and its CFO is going away

GoPro is going nowhere. That is, unless you count going down as going somewhere.

The San Mateo-based maker of sport-video cameras watched its shares fall 8.6 percent, to $9.78 Thursday after the company delivered a fourth-quarter earnings report and a forecast that, to say the least, was disappointing.

Late Wednesday, GoPro said that for the final three months of 2015, it lost $34.5 million, or 25 cents a share, on $436.6 million in sales. During the same quarter in 2014, GoPro earned $122.3 million, or 83 cents a share, on revenue of $633.9 million. Wall Street analysts had forecast GoPro to break even on a per-share basis on revenue of revenue of $496.1 million.

There’s no real secret behind GoPro’s ongoing woes. The company didn’t really revamp its line of Hero cameras last year, and the introduction of a lower-priced camera called the Session failed to catch on with consumers. Additionally, many smartphones have improved their cameras so much that customers don’t necessarily feel the need to pack another electronic gadget with them when they go out and about.

GoPro isn’t giving up, however. The company has plans for its own drone to come out this year, and it is preparing to release its Hero 5 camera and new video-editing software that GoPro hopes will stoke more consumers’ enthusiasm for its products.

Whatever GoPro has planned, there’s at least one person who won’t be around to see what comes next: Jack Lazar, the company’s soon-to-be-former chief financial officer. GoPro said that the 50-year-old Lazar will “retire” officially on March 11. Taking Lazar’s place will be former Qualcomm executive Brian McGee.

And one of McGee’s first jobs will be to reassure investors that it’s worth sticking with GoPro. It won’t be an easy task, however. Since GoPro shares hit a 52-week-high of $65.49 on Aug. 10, 2015, the stock has fallen by almost 85 percent. And GoPro also forecast first-quarter revenue of between $160 million and $180 million, a far cry from analysts’ prior estimate of $298 million in sales.


Photo: GoPro cameras in 2013. (Associated Press)


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