RealNetworks Inc. announced the appointment of Thomas Nielsen as president and chief executive officer of the digital media company. Nielsen, who assumes his new responsibilities on November 9, also will become a member of RealNetworks’ board of directors.

Mike Lunsford has served as interim chief executive officer since March 2011, stepping into a vacancy created by the departure of Bob Kimball. Kimball succeeded founder Rob Glaser in January 2010 after being with RealNetworks for over a decade. Lunsford will remain with RealNetworks in a senior capacity, reporting to Nielsen.

“I am honored to be joining RealNetworks, an industry pioneer in digital media applications and services,” Nielsen said. “While there’s a lot of work to do, RealNetworks has incredible and unique assets upon which to build, including a very talented team. I’m excited about the opportunity to help lead RealNetworks on to the next great chapter in its success.”

Nielsen joins RealNetworks from Adobe Systems, where he was vice president of the Digital Imaging Group, the business unit which includes Photoshop, Elements and Lightroom, in addition to mobile, web and tablet solutions. He previously spent five years at Microsoft in the digital media space..

Rob Glaser, RealNetworks founder and chairman, notified employees of Nielsen’s appointment in an email that said the executive search process was so extensive that it “took a little longer than we originally projected but the extra time spent was well worth it.” He added, “We were comfortable taking a little extra time due to Mike Lunsford’s outstanding leadership as our interim CEO. I’m pleased to report that Mike will be continuing on at RealNetworks in a senior capacity.”

In the public announcement of the news, Glaser said, “Thomas is a terrific product executive who has also demonstrated exceptional business and leadership skills. He’s a perfect fit to take RealNetworks into the future. We will leverage Thomas’ extensive background in customer-driven product strategy and delivery to ensure RealNetworks’ strategic plan is focused and optimized for growth.”

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Glaser’s note to employees –