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Friday, 20 October, 2000, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK
Altavista boss resigns
Altavista's chief executive Rod Schrock resigns ahead of flotation
Altavista says flotation remains a "primary goal"
The chief executive of US internet portal Altavista has resigned.

The Palo Alto, California-based company said the search for a successor to Rod Schrock had already begun.

Altavista has been blessed with a sense of incredibly poor timing

Rod Schrock
It said its stock market flotation - planned for just a few months' time - remained a "primary goal" but would be delayed until a new head was in place.

Mr Schrock said he had already remained longer at Altavista than he had planned and now intended to spend more time with his family.

The company he led has suffered several blows recently, including the failure to launch a much-vaunted unlimited internet access service in the UK.

Last month, Altavista said it was cutting staff by 25% in an attempt to speed progress to profitability.

Poor timing

The sale of shares in the company has already been delayed twice - once earlier this year when the market value of internet companies collapsed, and once in 1996, also because of depressed market conditions.

Mr Schrock said Altavista had "done a fine job" but been "blessed with a sense of incredibly poor timing".

The company is owned by CMGI, an internet investment firm that acquired it in 1999 for about $2.3bn.

Last month, CMGI said Altavista's North American operations were expected to become profitable by the end of January 2001.

Early next year would be "optimal timing" for the company's flotation, CMGI chairman David Wetherell had said.

CMGI's search and portals division, which includes Altavista, made an operating loss of $307m on revenue of $98m in the quarter ended 31 July.

35 more sites

Altavista claims to have more than 65 million users a month, more than half of whom are outside North America.

It has seven country-specific search engines in Europe in addition to an Indian site, an Australian site launched earlier this month and its main US site.

Two weeks ago, Altavista said it planned to set up 35 more country-specific sites in the next 10 months.

Mr Schrock was formerly a senior vice president at Compaq Computer - a previous Altavista owner.

Before undertaking a Masters degree in Business Administration at Harvard University, he was an industrial engineer at computer giant IBM.

Altavista said president and chief operating officer Greg Memo and chief financial officer Ken Barber would share executive responsibilities until a new chief executive had been appointed.

CMGI shares closed at $16-7/16 on 19 October, $1 up on the day but well below their 52-week high of $163-1/2.

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22 Sep 00 | Business
AltaVista heads for flotation
30 Aug 00 | Business
Altavista UK boss resigns
20 Oct 00 | Business
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