Galli Leaves VerticalNet

VerticalNet Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Galli resigned
Monday after only six months, leaving co-founder and Chief Operating Officer
Michael Hagan to fill his shoes.


In a sort of musical chairs, Galli decided to leave the Web’s top vertical
market provider, opting to drift back into the brick and mortar sector by
taking the helm as president and chief executive officer at Newell
Rubbermaid Inc. Galli had served as president and chief operating officer at
leading e-tailer Amazon.com before joining VerticalNet last July.


Galli, who was credited with making key organizational changes, said in a
company statement that he was happy to return to his roots in the durable
goods sector, where he had worked at Black & Decker.


As for the new leadership, Hagan is moving into what should be very
comfortable and familiar territory. Hagan created the original concept of
VerticalNet and founded the company in 1995 with Mike McNulty.


As COO, Hagan spearheaded VerticalNet’s acquisition strategy, including the
purchase of e-commerce software specialist Tradeum and presided over his
firm’s selling of NECX to Converge Inc in December.


Hagan said in a company statement Monday that his three specific areas of
focus will be to improve VerticalNet’s markets for e-commerce, its
applications segment and to develop Converge into the leading electronics
exchange.


But despite the fact that Hagan has overseen the outfit’s acquisitions and
is unquestionably tech-savvy, Goldman Sachs said it was concerned with
Galli’s resignation. The investment and research firm said the key departure
could be a sign that VerticalNet was beyond repair, having suffered too much
from the market-wide Internet shakeout.


Apparently, Wall Street is concerned, too. The online market exchange’s
stock was drubbed to the tune of almost 30 percent. In morning trading,
shares of VerticalNet were down to $3.78 after beginning
at $3.97.

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