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Beyond.com Refocuses on B2B; CEO Steps Down

Online software retailer Beyond.com Wednesday announced plans to focus on business customers and move out of the retail space. It also plans to trim staff by 20 percent in and is losing its chief executive officer.

Under the restructuring plan, which is expected to result in a charge of between $2 million and $3 million, Beyond.com (BYND) will expand its eStore and government divisions while de-emphasizing its consumer and corporate divisions.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Breier has resigned as president and chief executive officer, with Rick Neely, senior vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer, assuming the post of interim CEO.

The company also plans to eliminate approximately 75 full-time positions at all levels of the company and consolidate its satellite offices. The company said it will offer severance packages and career counseling to those who are let go.

"... Beyond.com is transitioning from a business-to-consumer (B2C) to a B2B-focused company," Neely said. "Therefore, we are focusing our resources and expertise to strengthen our eStore division -- which allows companies to put a dot com store on the Internet in two weeks -- and on our government division, which now has eight major contracts and significant momentum."

As a consumer retailer, Beyond.com shares a crowded market with firms such as Outpost.com, Egghead.com and powerhouse Amazon.com. The transition into the B2B space puts it in one of the hottest markets in the Internet sector.