George Bell: How Much Longer @Home?

They're going to have to put in a revolving door at Excite@Home soon. On Sept. 19, Chairman and CEO George Bell said he'll give up his CEO duties as soon as a replacement is found. He'll remain chairman through 2001. The move comes a mere eight months after Bell replaced Tom Jermoluk as CEO.

Why such a short tenure? In a statement, Bell said the separation of the chairman and CEO roles "is a natural evolution of the executive management team as a company grows." Indeed, Excite@Home, which provides speedy Net service over cable-TV, is projected to hit 3 million customers by the end of 2000 and 6 million by the end of 2001.

Still, the CEO job has become tougher of late. AT&T boosted its stake in Excite@Home last month to 74%, so the long-distance giant now has more control. In addition, Bell has been commuting from Boston, where his family lives, for more than a year. As chairman, he is expected to focus on keeping relations with AT&T, based in Basking Ridge, N.J., running smoothly.

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