R. Steve "Rick" Lutterbach, the entrepreneurial force behind The Leap Group and architect of the company's stock offering, officially stepped down last week as chairman and chief executive officer due to lingering health problems from injuries suffered in an auto accident.
Lutterbach will remain on The Leap Group's board of directors.
He departs as Leap announced a profit of one cent per share for the quarter ending Jan. 31 on revenues of $11.4 million. Leap reported a loss of 22 cents per share the previous quarter.
Replacing Lutterbach as chairman and CEO is Fred Smith, a Leap founder, who has been acting CEO since Lutterbach was injured in August.
"I think I have a great opportunity," Smith said. "We're at the beginning of a turnaround."
Smith, 43, will remain president of Quantum Leap, the agency's media and technology subsidiary. The former DDB Needham Chicago vice president and executive producer teamed up with two other Needham staffers to form Leap in 1993.
Lutterbach, an entrepreneur who made millions through investments, learned of Leap in a meeting with Smith on a golf course. He came aboard to develop a five-year business plan and set up accounting procedures, eventually crafting the initial public offering that made Leap a publicly traded company in September 1996. Leap has traveled a rocky road since then. The stock, issued at $10 a share, was trading last Friday at 1 1/4.
Smith said his task is to continue selling the company to analysts and institutional investors. Leap last week reported revenues for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31 of $30.7 million, a 91 percent increase over the previous year, but still a net loss for the year of $5.6 million, versus net income of $1.3 million the previous year.