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Excite@Home Names Hart Chairman, CEO

Leading cable broadband provider Excite@Home Monday moved to reinforce its new strategic focus on its core broadband business with the official departure of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George Bell in favor of Telocity and Sprint veteran Patti S. Hart.

Bell, who lead the company into the content arena through the merger with Excite and numerous other media properties, resigned from the company and the board. He announced his intentions to resign from the CEO position in September, 2000.

Hart's appointment to the chairman and CEO roles appears to be a clear sign that Excite@Home is serious about its renewed commitment to the broadband aspect of its business, and a phasing out of those media properties not relevant to the core broadband franchise. Her latest stint was as chairman, president and CEO of Silicon Valley-based DSL provider Telocity Inc., a company she, and the board and executive team she built, took public in 2000. She was also a driving force behind Telocity's acquisition by HUGHES Electronics Corp., parent of DIRECTV.

And Hart's telecommunications roots go back even further. Before joining Telocity, she served as president and chief operating officer of Sprint Corp.'s Long Distance Division, spearheading that company's partnership with EarthLink.

"Patti's appointment adds a seasoned leader to our management team," said William Randolph Hearst III, partner, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and board search committee member. "She brings both large company and Internet operating experience, with deep expertise in telecommunications and high-speed data, and a proven track record in managing a complex network of partners."

In her statement Monday, Hart signified her readiness to lead the company in a more broadband-focused direction by tackling service issues, and to address head-on its current cash crunch (the company said last week it needs an influx of between $75 million and $80 million to get it through the year).

"I will look for opportunities that will help us deliver a superior service, address the current cash situation and drive towards profitability," Hart said. "I plan to provide clarity and focus for the company and execute on our substantial market opportunity. My operational expertise will provide the foundation to nurture the wealth of talent at the company, taking us to the next level of service with the goal of becoming profitable."

She added, "Like no other company, Excite@Home has every asset to take advantage of this huge market opportunity. The network, partnerships and client software working in concert create a broadband powerhouse like no other. My job is to weave these parts together, take advantage of the huge untapped potential, execute on the business plans and drive towards superior service and profitability.

"I'm a broadband believer, and today, we're just at the beginning of the game. Broadband has and will continue to change the way we work and live -- it is the future of communications and entertainment."

Meanwhile, Bell leaves the company after five years of service, first as president and CEO of Excite Inc., and as chairman and CEO of Excite@Home following the merger.

"I am proud of leading Excite and then Excite@Home through its remarkable journey thus far, and of setting the foundation for the company's leadership in broadband," he said. "Most of all, I am proud of the people in this company -- their talent and passion foremost.

"The decision to move on at this time was made a lot easier knowing that Patti's operational expertise will serve the company well."