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Outpost.com Sends CEO Packing, Cuts Staff

Kent, Conn.-based Outpost.com has slashed its work force by 110 employees, or 30 percent, and replaced president and CEO Katherine Vick with its chairman and founder, Darryl Peck.

The CEO swap and workforce paring down comes as no surprise. In the last few weeks rumors have materialized as reality as the once promising retailer of low to high-end consumer-technology products -- praised by tech savvy pundits -- confirmed it was in talks with creditors to find a way out of a precarious existence that includes explaining a staggeringly low stock price to shareholders.

Last Thursday, Outpost reported a net loss of $9.5 million, or 30 cents per share for the fourth quarter that ended Feb. 28, on sales of $120.9 million. The company said market conditions made it difficult to secure equity and working capital financing. The company also admitted that it would not make meaningful estimates for 2002.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed Vick had been let go from her position and that the company's founder, Darryl Peck, would assume responsibilities as CEO. Peck was unavailable for comment by press time.

Peck founded the company in March 1995 and served as chairman of its board since September 1999. He served as president from March 1995 until September 1999 and as CEO from April 1998 to September 1999.

In a prepared statement, the company, formerly known as Cyberian Outpost, said it was refocusing its B2C electronics business.

"We are refocusing Outpost.com to concentrate on our industry-leading business-to-consumer electronics business. As far as our customers are concerned, it is business as usual," said Peck.

Outpost reported that Vick notified the company that she believed she had been "constructively terminated from her position."

Both Vick and James Preston have resigned from the company's board of directors.

Outpost has warned it may not be able to negotiate with its creditors or raise additional capital. The company would not offer an outlook for 2002.