Beeb.com rocked as top duo defect

Beeb.com, the BBC’s commercial internet service, has been rocked by the departure of two founding directors just days before announcing a major joint venture, which is expected to value the company at pounds 300m.

Beeb.com, the BBC’s commercial internet service, has been rocked by

the departure of two founding directors just days before announcing a

major joint venture, which is expected to value the company at pounds

300m.



Andy Conroy, beeb.com’s production director, and Mike Clowes, creative

director, are leaving to join NC Co, a digital consultancy that advises

FTSE 100 companies.



Conroy and Clowes were founding directors of beeb.com in 1996, along

with Rupert Miles, who joined Carlton Interactive Media last year as

managing director.



Their departure leaves beeb.com with a depleted management structure as

it gears up to announce a deal with either Flextech or NTL, which are

bidding to take a 30% stake in beeb.com for around pounds 100m.



Clowes said his departure was unrelated to the impending joint

venture.



He said: ’This was an agonising decision because this is a very exciting

time for beeb.com.’



Overall responsibility for beeb.com lies with Drew Kaza, managing

director of internet and interactive at BBC Worldwide, but Conroy is

responsible for day-to-day operations and Clowes for content. He and

Conroy were behind beeb.com’s evolution into an e-commerce site.



Beeb.com was set up just over two years ago as a joint venture between

BBC Worldwide and Japanese-owned computer company, ICL.



Last year, it branched into internet access with the launch of

FreeBeeb.net through a tie-up with Scottish Telecom. The partial

sell-off of beeb.com is expected to value the venture at pounds

300m.



David Atter, beeb.com’s sales and marketing director, is now the most

senior director at beeb.com.



In 1999, revenue increased three-fold on 1998, while Q1 2000 is up 20%

year on year. However, beeb.com refuses to divulge actual figures.



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