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lastminute.com Picks Managers for New Sites in Europe

Recently floated late offers company lastminute.com has hired two managing directors to head its operations in Spain and the Benelux countries.

In Spain, lastminute.com has appointed Alfonso Castellano, a former managing director of European travel group TUI. He will work to build relationships with other organizations involved with Spanish tourism and develop lastminute.com's business in the peninsula.

In the Benelux countries, lastminute.com has appointed Alexandra Jankovich, formerly of McKinsey & Co. and the Reed Elsevier group. At Elsevier she handled the project with Microsoft to develop an Internet news service, and will now focus on establishing localized services for lastminute.com in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.

Brent Hoberman, co-founder and chief executive officer of lastminute.com, welcomed the newcomers, saying they shared the idea that lastminute.com could be the definitive global marketplace for all last minute services and transactions.

Since its celebrated flotation on the London Stock Exchange a few weeks ago, lastminute.com has received a bad press in its home base of the U.K. The chief complaints have been the tiny share allocation given to small investors and the exceptionally high price of each share.

Clearly, lastminute.com expects its European expansion will restore its gloss. In Spain, 3.6 million people were online by the end of last year, while in the Netherlands 4.7 million now have Internet access.

lastminute.com's shares stood at 322p (approx. $5) Wednesday morning, off 11p on the day and well below their offer price of 380p (approx. $6) at the launch.