AOL Names Latin America Chief

Realizing the largely untapped potential for Internet services in Latin America, America Online Inc. Tuesday named Charles Herington as president and chief executive officer of AOL Latin America.

AOL Latin America, developed in December 1998, is a joint venture between AOL and the Cisneros Group of Companies. It plans to offer localized content and services in Spanish and Portuguese for the online markets in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. As president and CEO, Herington will head the joint venture. The site is expected to launch by the end of the year, the company said.

AOL said its Latin America division will offer local services with local management, regional content, local customer service and pricing, and access to global AOL services. The joint venture will also be responsible for the development of the CompuServe brand in Latin America.

Jack Davies, president of AOL International, said America Online is committed to building Internet activity in the region, taking advantage of its recent growth.

“With a population of close to 460 million people sharing common languages and cultural values, Latin America represents a huge opportunity for AOL,” he said. Expectations for the region are booming as well.

Research firm IDC predicts that Latin American e-commerce is set to generate $8 billion in 2003, and in a recent report, Datamonitor said it expects most of the Internet growth in the coming years to come from the developing markets of Asia and South America.

Prior to joining AOL, Herington served as the president of Revlon Latin America and regional vice president for Pepsico Restaurants International.

AOL joins portal sites Yahoo! and Star Media in offering localized content to Latin America. AOL’s recent acquisition, Netscape, also has a Latin American division, but an AOL spokeswoman said that site would not be affected.

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