Turner quits CEO role at Beeb Ventures

LONDON - Julian Turner is stepping down from his role as CEO of Beeb Ventures, the BBC Worldwide company which runs the online shopping portal beeb.com, without a job to go to.

Turner was poached from ITV company Granada, where he was director of online and interactive media, in September 2000 to run the division.

Beeb.com was originally launched in 1997 and restructured in August 2000, when Beeb Ventures -- also home to ISP beeb.net -- was born following a deal with US-based technology investor TH Lee Putnam Ventures, which took a 13.5% stake valued at £32.5m.

According to Turner: "I have moved Beeb Ventures a long way since taking over in September 2000. As a result, the company now operates against a dramatically more efficient business model, having made a significant investment in the technology platform to enable a smooth transition to a lower cost base."

He added: "My decision to resign, coupled with the removal of a good deal of other costs, is a reflection of the execution and completion of the vision I had for Beeb when I took over. These changes in cost structure will give Beeb the time to prove itself as the UK's leading shopping portal."

It is not yet known what Turner's next career move will be.

The restructure of Beeb Ventures comes as a result of the forthcoming completion of a redesign of the beeb.com website.

The first phase of the overhaul was completed in October 2001, when the site was relaunched with a new look.

The final phase, which is set to be completed in April, aims to give customers greater flexibility in accessing retail products, in an attempt to increase sales.

Turner's responsibilities will be handled by Rupert Gavin, CEO of BBC Worldwide and chairman of Beeb Ventures, and chief operating officer Kym Niblock.

Gavin will take over as executive chairman and he will assume the strategic responsibilities previously held by Turner.

Commenting on Turner's depature, Gavin said: "Julian has done a terrific job in getting Beeb into the position it is in today and the cost cuts that his plans have enabled put Beeb in a stronger position than ever to dominate the e-commerce business, in which it is already a clear leader."

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