AOL VP Takes Helm at Netscape

AOL Time Warner subsidiary America Online Inc. Thursday named Jim Bankoff president of its Netscape division.

Bankoff, formerly vice president of strategy and operations for the AOL brand, will now take the reins of the browser company, directing business operations and managing the growth of and the Netbusiness initiative. Current Netscape head honcho Jim Martin will take a new assignment with America Online Inc., according to the company.

“Under Jim Martin’s leadership, Netscape has built momentum behind an impressive series of accomplishments,” said Barry Schuler, chairman and chief executive officer of America Online Inc. “From the launch of the pioneering Netscape 6.0 browser to the unveiling and explosive growth of the Netbusiness initiative and passage of the 37 million member milestone for, Netscape is accelerating and moving into the fast lane.

“I’m pleased that Jim Bankoff will help us take Netscape to the next level; he has proven himself to be one of the most creative and capable executives at AOL, and under his leadership I’m confident that the future at Netscape will be even brighter.”

In his former position, Bankoff directed a number of businesses and operating infrastructure groups supporting the AOL core service. His responsibilities included managing business strategy, new category development and content acquisition in addition to several cross-brand strategic initiatives for the AOL Interactive Services Group. He also led the AOL Plus and AOL Music programming groups and assisted with the operational integration and strategic planning development for Netscape in the wake of its merger with AOL.

“In many ways, the history of Netscape is the history of the Internet itself, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with one of the best teams in the business to help write the next chapter of Netscape’s success,” Bankoff said. “With strong growth in registered users and visitors, an aggressive new strategy and one of the strongest brands on the Internet, Netscape is extremely well positioned to extend its leadership as a pre-eminent destination and online resource.”

During his five years at AOL, Bankoff has served as a director in its Electronic Commerce Business Development Group and as a director of Business Development for the AOL Greenhouse, an incubator for Internet content companies. Prior to joining AOL in 1995, he held positions at Ruder Finn’s Global Public Affairs group and CNN. He received his MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his bachelor’s degree from Emory University.

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