McCleary Hands Over CEO Reins at USinternetworking

Leading ASP USinternetworking Inc has a new CEO today. Former chief operating officer Andrew Stern has been promoted to the CEO role, taking over from founder Chris McCleary, who retains his role as chairman and will lead a newly-created executive committee.

“We’ve formed a subset of the board of directors to rapidly turn round decisions and also act as a sounding board for Andy on strategic opportunities that may come to us,” said McCleary, briefing analysts on the announcement this morning.

There will be further changes on the fourteen-strong board of directors following on from the reshuffle, he indicated. “You’ll be seeing people joining our board, replacing some of the early venture capital representatives,” he said.

The executive committee, made up of four members of the board, has been created so that USi can position itself proactively for further evolution in the ASP market, said McCleary. USi had operated with an executive committee during its first year of operation, he noted. “What the company is signalling today is that we can see an equal amount of activity still in front of us. We see some very interesting high-level ideas.”

McCleary was not able to reveal the precise nature of these undertakings, however. He said the new committee will be investigating partnerships for international expansion and entering vertical markets, but went on to say that, “Other types of opportunity that we may not see today but which may arise in the next twelve months will really be the job of the committee.”

Giving up the CEO role will give McCleary more time to spend envangelising on behalf of the company and the industry, he added. He explained that he would like to carve out a role as a standard bearer for the ASP model. “I’ll be more involved at a higher level to drive the industry forward,” he said.

Meanwhile the newly-promoted Stern will focus on continuing to develop USi’s established business as the leading ASP for enterprise client-server applications.

“We have the potential to be a billion-dollar company. The changes we’ve made give us the management focus to achieve that as well as the wider strategic opportunities,” he said.

Stern joined USi in July 1998 as chief financial officer, and became chief operating officer in June 1999, having steered the company through its Nasdaq IPO. He previously held positions at insurance company
USF & G, and at consulting firm Booz, Allen & Hamilton.

The change at the top does not presage any modification to USi’s facilities-based model of owning and operating its own data centres, McCleary said in answer to an analyst question. “That won’t be on the table right now – but it might be a possibility for international expansion,” he said.

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