Forman Leaves

One of’s founding fathers resigned from his
board of directors seat Wednesday, ending a 10-year stint at the helm of one
of the biggest registrars in the world.

Since co-founding the company — originally called Forman Interactive —
with his brother Peter back in 1994, Richard Forman saw
the registrar through the deregulation of his industry and a proxy
fight with dissident shareholders last year, which ultimately led to his

In June 2003, board members signed an agreement
with Barington Companies Equity Partners, L.P., to end a proxy
battle against the board of directors. The investment firm wanted to
rescind the company’s anti-takeover “shareholder rights plan” and dump the
existing board of directors, but settled with $120 million.

It also cost Forman his job
as president and CEO, as he had rejected
several buyout offers
earlier that year. His brother has been president and CEO since
June 2003.

Despite increases in net income over the past three years, company revenues,
and per-share prices have been in a steady state of decline since the turn
of the century, which made the buyout attempts possible and had investors
eager to support those attempts. Increasing competition from low-price
registrars like GoDaddy cut into’s customer base, which pays $35 a
year for domain name extensions.

Forman said the time he has spent since his resignation as CEO and president on the board of
directors has been a good transition period for him.

“It’s been close to 18 months since I stepped down from day-to-day
management and felt that the transition period is clearly over,” Forman said. “There’s
some great opportunities out there that I’m working on, and I really wanted
to focus on those developing opportunities. I can’t say that a
proxy battle is ever fun, but it was a lot of work in building the company.
A lot of things come up in business; that was just one of them.”

Forman wouldn’t say what ventures he’s working on, hinting only that they
relate to both technology and non-technology endeavors due out in coming

As for the company he’s leaving behind, the board of directors announced
they would reduce the size of its board to eight directors following
Forman’s departure.

“Richard’s contributions to and our success are immeasurable,”
Mitchell Quain, chairman of the board, said in a statement.
“As he has shown in founding and guiding in his various roles
over the last 10 years, Richard is a talented individual. We thank him for
his contributions and wish him continued success.”

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