Excite@Home (ATHM) announced Tuesday that CEO George Bell will resign but remain full-time chairman of the broadband company's board of directors at least until the end of 2001.
The move should allow Bell to share some of his responsibilities and cut down on the commute between Excite@Home in Redwood City, Califorinia, and Boston, where he has lived for more than a year.
"I think George wanted to open up the CEO slot partly because he felt he could be a full-time chairman but not a CEO from Boston," says Will Hearst III, an Excite@Home board member and a partner at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. "George is very much in demand. He had a lot of East Coast CEO offers."
But Hearst said Bell is attached to the company and did not want to leave abruptly. Bell was traveling and could not be reached to comment.
"I look forward to assisting the company in its growth as full-time chairman," Bell said in a statement. "I believe the company's best market opportunities lie ahead."
Bell will remain CEO until a replacement is found. The company already has hired a recruiter and has formed a search committee, which Hearst expects will start coming up with potential candidates in the next 30 days.
Bell became Excite's 23rd employee and CEO in January 1996. He played a major role in the company's merger with @Home Network in January 1999 and was appointed president of the new company following the merger.
Last month, AT&T Corp. (T) acquired a 74 percent voting stake in Excite@Home, which combines content with conduit by offering broadband Internet access and operating the Excite portal. Also last month, Excite@Home announced that its subscriber count for high-speed, always-on service exceeded 2 million.
Shares of Excite@Home moved up 25 cents, or 1.6 percent, to close at $US16.19 Tuesday, which is far below the company's 52-week high of $US59.75.