Analyst rides in to head NBCi's B2B unit

NBCi- owner of and prospective portal partner of TVNZ - has had an unhappy debut on the Nasdaq this week. But the recuitment of a high-profile Internet analyst signals a fresh direction.

Former high-profile Internet analyst Alan Braverman is taking NBCi, the newly formed conglomerate of Internet properties, into uncharted waters.

Braverman, the former senior managing director and head of Internet research at both Banc of America Securities and Deutsche Bank Securities, will be the new president of NBCi's business-to-business unit. The area is a new one for the company as it seeks to expand its realm of focus beyond the current business-to-consumer strategy.

He is also the latest in a series of analysts and finance executives to move closer to the vast potential riches of the Internet. Keith Benjamin, an analyst at Robertson Stephens, left in October to join venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners. Another notable is former Hambrecht & Quist investment banker Daniel Rimer, who left H&Q in November to become a general partner at the Barksdale Group.

"As one of the brightest and most influential Internet analysts on Wall Street, there is not a stronger industry player that we would want to lead us in this very important initiative for NBCi," says NBCi CEO Chris Kitze in a statement.

The appointment comes just days after NBCi, a merger of several NBC-owned and partially owned properties and, debuted on the Nasdaq this week. Investors, apparently concerned over the short-term outlook, sent its stock plummeting $12.50 to $76 on its first day. Shares of the company slid another $0.375 today to $76.625.

"The opportunities that NBCi has on both the consumer and business-to-business fronts are incredibly compelling. I'm looking forward to working closely with a visionary like Chris Kitze and the rest of the very talented senior management team at NBCi on its business-to-business strategy," says Braverman.

As part of the news, the company also appointed iVillage and Time Warner veteran John J. McMenamim to become its new VP of sales and marketing.

Executives were unreachable for comment at press time.

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