Head of AltaVista quits after Digital nixes IPO

Digital has admitted to losing the head of its AltaVista Web search engine division. Ilene Lang, AltaVista Internet Software vice president, quit her post earlier this month, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The report suggests that Lang was unhappy about Digital's decision not to take AltaVista public. Digital filed an initial public offering (IPO) registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission after announcing its intention to take AltaVista public in August last year. But then in late June of this year, Digital Chairman Robert Palmer announced the abandonment of the AltaVista IPO and the reintegration of the business back into the company's product division.

Digital has admitted to losing the head of its AltaVista Web search engine division.

Ilene Lang, AltaVista Internet Software vice president, quit her post earlier this month, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The report suggests that Lang was unhappy about Digital's decision not to take AltaVista public.

Digital filed an initial public offering (IPO) registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year for AltaVista, after announcing its intention to take AltaVista public in August last year.

Several rival search engine companies including Yahoo, Excite and Infoseek took the IPO plunge earlier last year. However, although the companies' IPOs were successful, the market later became less enthusiastic and there were substantial drop-offs in share prices. Digital had planned to sell off up to 20% of AltaVista, garnering the company around US$50 million. The company also hoped spinning off AltaVista would encourage staff retention.

But then in late June of this year, Digital Chairman Robert Palmer announced the abandonment of the AltaVista IPO and the reintegration of the business back into the company's product division.

Lang joined Digital in November 1995 as vice president of the company's connectivity business unit. She came to Digital from Lotus Development Corp. where she'd held the position of senior vice president of Lotus' desktop business group, handling the worldwide development and marketing of Lotus' SmartSuite desktop applications suite, for the past year.

The bulk of AltaVista staff are now reporting to Bruce Claflin, senior vice president responsible for worldwide sales and marketing.

Digital, in Maynard, Massachusetts, can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.digital.com/.

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