George Shaheen: Webvan Nets A Ceoby
Who can't be seduced by the Web? George Shaheen shocked colleagues when he announced on Sept. 21 that he would step down after 10 years as Andersen Consulting's CEO to run Silicon Valley upstart Webvan Group, an online grocer founded by Louis Borders of Borders Group books fame.
The news left Andersen reeling. Shaheen, 55, departs as Andersen nears the climax of a nasty divorce from Arthur Andersen, the audit giant. Shaheen escalated the fight in 1997 when he filed for arbitration on how to divide the companies. That leaves his lieutenants to handle a possible $10 billion fee Arthur is demanding for Andersen's independence. Shaheen's exit on the heels of e-commerce head Rudy Puryear causes a brain drain. "This really leaves them in the lurch," said an ex-Andersen exec.
Shaheen's not talking, citing Webvan's pending IPO. But some insiders wonder if he can make the shift from a giant bureaucracy to a cozy shop with only $395,000 in sales in the first half of 1999. Maybe he will be able to hire a consultant to help with the transition.