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Turnaround Specialist Engaged Full Time To Grow Qualstar Investment

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Qualstar® Corporation's (Nasdaq: QBAK) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Larry Firestone, a 30-year veteran of restructuring, turning around and growing companies post turnaround is now fully engaged as Qualstar's CEO, effective June 1, 2012.  The Qualstar Board, together with Mr. Firestone, is committed to driving long term value of the Company for the benefit of all Qualstar investors.  As a result, Mr. Firestone and the management team are setting a new strategy that will enable the Company to return to sustainable and growing profitability. 

The Board was unanimous in its choice of Mr. Firestone given his extremely relevant industry experience, and most importantly, his impressive success rate in turning around companies in situations similar to Qualstar.  Among Mr. Firestone's notable achievements in this arena are:
  • As the CFO of Xiotech, a private performance storage company, Larry held a lead role to turn this venture backed company profitable within one year after several years of losses.  
  • Grew Advanced Energy Industries from a market capitalization of $500 million to over $1.1 billion in two years, reduced operating expenses by over $19 million annually, and installed a tax strategy that allowed Advanced Energy to reduce its cash taxes by over $10 million.  This allowed a $50 million share buyback using earnings.  Once turned around, Advanced Energy implemented a successful acquisition strategy in the solar inverter market.
  • As a key member of the leadership team, took Applied Films Corp. from $25 million in revenues, losing money, with an $11 million (approximately $3.00 per share) market cap to $240 million in revenues in just 7 years and subsequently sold for $460 million (just under $30.00 per share).  This growth included 3 major acquisitions with successful integrations.
  • In under two years, successfully turned Woolson Spice & Coffee, d/b/a Lion Coffee into a profitable and growing business after years of bleeding cash and losing money.  Today Lion Coffee is the #1 brand of gourmet roasted coffee in Hawaii. 

THE PLAN TO STRENGTHEN QUALSTAR IS UNDERWAY

Mr. Firestone and the Qualstar management team have developed a plan to increase sales and return Qualstar to profitability.  The major components of this plan include the following:
  • Installing global sales leadership and strengthening our sales force
  • Expanding channel partner and strategic relationships
  • Targeted marketing and promotional efforts, including increased trade show presence, joint selling, and private labeling
  • Enhancement of our recurring revenue stream from the growing tape library installed base
  • Geographic diversification and expansion of target markets 
  • Product related initiatives
    • Acquire complementary product lines – broaden market coverage
    • OEM complementary products to offer a complete storage solution
    • Introduced new mid-tier rack mount tape library products to compete successfully in this market
  • Restructure the organization for greater efficiency
  • Centralize corporate engineering function
  • Establish formal organic growth and profitability strategies
  • Margin improvement and business rationalization where appropriate
  • Evaluate strategic value added opportunities, including accretive acquisitions
  • Product development and product line extension

The board believes that executing these strategies will enhance long term shareholder value and prove the value of the Qualstar franchise is best realized with the company intact. 

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