RealTime IT News

More Departures at Terra Networks

[London, ENGLAND] Spanish Internet group Terra Lycos suffered an unexpected blow Thursday with the resignation of Abel Linares, chief operating officer of Terra Networks.

The departure of Linares follows that of Lycos co-founder Bob Davis who stepped down at the beginning of February after a confrontation with Telefonica Chairman Cesar Alierta. Davis had objected to the appointment of Joaquim Agut as Terra's executive chairman.

Ron Sege, president of Terra's U.S. operations, resigned the day after Davis left.

Neither parent company Telefonica, the largest telephone company in Spain, nor Terra Networks gave any reason for Linares' departure.

The resignations at Terra are another instance of "blood on the boardroom carpet" which has been seen at some of the largest European Internet companies recently.

Last week, Fabiola Arredondo, manager of Yahoo! Europe, announced her resignation -- and is now being tipped by some observers as a possible candidate to take charge of e-commerce business at Terra Lycos.

Equally prominent in February were the resignations of both Chief Executive James Kinsella and Liberty Surf Chairman Pierre Besnainou from European ISP Tiscali. Clearly, huge convulsions in the European Internet industry are taking their toll of top management.

On Thursday's news of the resignation of Abel Linares, shares in Terra fell by 4.5 percent. Although Terra's shares were up by 22 percent in recent weeks, they show a drop of 90 percent on the year.

The original Terra Lycos merger, combining the Spanish company with one of the leading Internet search brands, was negotiated by Juan Villalonga, who was then chairman of Telefonica, and Bob Davis. In July 2000, Cesar Alierta replaced Villalonga and removed Davis's day-to-day control of the company by appointing Joaquim Agut as executive chairman.

It is reported that Linares, an eight-year veteran of Telefonica, has also resigned his seat on Terra's board.