Marc Andreessen, co-founder and executive vice president of products at Netscape Communications Corp., is reportedly due to be appointed America Online Inc.'s first chief technology officer. The news comes two months after AOL announced its intention to acquire Netscape.
As AOL CTO, Andreessen will report directly to company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Case, according to a report in today's Wall Street Journal. His role will be one of determining potential future technologies for AOL, but won't involve managing the online company's technical operations or heading up the development of Netscape's software, the report added.
Andreessen's high-profile new job is seen as a way to keep existing Netscape staff onboard when the company becomes part of AOL sometime this spring once the deal closes subject to regulatory approval, the report said.
AOL first announced its intentions to acquire Netscape in a stock-for-stock deal in November, in a deal originally valued at about US$4.2 billion. Since that time, AOL stock has increased in value substantially changing the deal's valuation.
Last month, Andreessen endeavored to ease Netscape employees' about becoming part of AOL, explaining that they will still retain some of the startup's company culture. For instance, staff will still be able to take sabbaticals, he said.
In fact, Andreessen himself went on sabbatical from Nov. 9, 1998 to Jan. 4, so wasn't much in evidence publicly during the announcement of and reaction to the AOL-Netscape deal.
Andreessen's new role would involve him commuting between Netscape's headquarters in Mountain View, California and those of AOL in Dulles, Virginia, the report said.
Many meetings were held between Andreessen and Case and other AOL executives before his new role was agreed upon, the report added.
Netscape, based in Mountain View, California, can be reached at +1-650-254-1900 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.netscape.com/. AOL, in Dulles, Virginia, can be reached at +1-703-448-8700 or at http://www.aol.com/