The Web's Virtual Vault: Veri Sign

With a near-lock on secure Net transactions, it's building an E-empire

Used to be, he was the warm-up act at day-long investor powwows--the burly pitchman for a geeky little Internet security company in the shadow of rock-star CEOs of such highfliers as Inc. (AMZN) and Netscape Communications Corp. But when VeriSign Inc. (VRSN) CEO Stratton D. Sclavos stepped up to the podium to speak at San Francisco's swank Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Sept. 20, he was the marquee player. It was standing room only, with about 250 people jammed into Banc of America Securities' annual investment conference. After four years of biding his time in the engine room of e-business, Sclavos had arrived. "You've probably heard this story before," Sclavos says sheepishly, "but the story has gotten bigger and better."

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