CompuServe's president quits after firm fails to stem losses Online company's shares have lost 64% since April

February 18, 1997|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- CompuServe Corp. said yesterday that President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Massey has resigned, effective immediately.

Massey's duties will be assumed by Chairman Frank Salizzoni while the company searches for a replacement for Massey. Salizzoni is president and chief executive of H&R Block Inc., which owns about 80 percent of the online service company.

The move comes as CompuServe, a pioneer in the online industry, has lost market share to industry rivals America Online Inc. and Microsoft Corp. and posted disappointing results.

Since it went public in April at $30 a share, stock in the money-losing company has fallen about 64 percent. CompuServe closed Friday at $10.81.

On Nov. 21, CompuServe reported a loss of $24.5 million, or 26 cents a share, for the fiscal second quarter ended Oct. 31, compared with earnings of $13.9 million, or 19 cents, a year earlier.

The company said at that time that it was dropping its battle with Microsoft, America Online and various other Internet services for the consumer market.

The company's U.S. consumer efforts were dogged by price wars and higher marketing costs as market leader America Online and No. 3 Microsoft spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing without making money.

CompuServe, the nation's second biggest online company, has since focused on selling its services outside the United States and to professional users.

Massey joined Columbus, Ohio-based CompuServe in 1976, and became president and chief executive in June 1995.

Pub Date: 2/18/97

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