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RealTime IT News

And the Answer Is: A New Chairman

Natural language search engine operation Ask Jeeves Inc. named company co-founder Garrett Gruener as chairman, replacing Roger Strauch, who will remain on the company's board, chairing the compensation and nominating committees.

The company, acting to execute on a plan to achieve operating profitability in the fourth quarter of this year, also named James Kirsner to its board of directors, effective immediately.

Kirsner, chief financial officer of BARRA Inc., a provider of investment analytics and trading solutions, will replace Ben Rosen, who is retiring. Kirsner will chair the board's audit committee.

"We have put a board structure in place that leverages the individual strengths of its members to most effectively assist Ask Jeeves in completing its near-term initiatives," said Skip Battle, CEO of Ask Jeeves.

"I will continue to work closely with Roger and will also benefit from more of Garrett's time as chairman. Garrett's intimate knowledge of Ask Jeeves' technology and broader software and systems engineering background should prove invaluable in guiding new product development."

The company's stated objectives for the year include "focusing on its core technology assets" to pursue new market opportunities

Gruener is a founding general partner of Alta Partners, a venture capital firm. Prior to forming Alta Partners, Gruener was a general partner of venture capital firm Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co.

Ask Jeeves stock was trading at $2.59 a share at mid-day, up six cents. Its 52-week high is $139.75.