Former Netscape counsel to head TechNet

Silicon Valley bipartisan lobbying group the Technology Network says Reed Hastings has stepped down as president and is being replaced by former Netscape general counsel Roberta Katz.

Silicon Valley bipartisan lobbying group the Technology Network today said Reed Hastings has stepped down as president and is being replaced by former Netscape Communications general counsel Roberta Katz.

Hastings took the job at TechNet last June and said he is leaving to run his high-tech start-up, NetFlix.com, an online video rental service, and to spend more time on educational issues. He is known for writing legislation that was passed in California last year to expand the state's charter school program.

Katz, who has resigned from her job overseeing legal issues at Netscape, also serves on several boards, including the Information Technology Association of America and the Software and Information Industry Association, and was a member of the California Governor's Electronic Commerce Advisory Council.

At Netscape she helped fight the Communications Decency Act, pushed for revamped encryption export controls, and dealt with copyright issues.

"I have a long history participating in policy issues," Katz said today. "I will be participating in the TechNet [fund-raising] events but also spending a lot of my time helping thinking through policy questions."

TechNet has yet to announce a specific education issue this year, which is a topic near and dear to Hastings's heart. But the group did say it would focus on securing research and development tax credits for high-tech companies.

TechNet's strength has been in getting its members to contribute cash to politicians. And last year, the group helped usher in legislation to curb shareholder lawsuits against high-tech start-ups with volatile stock prices.

Katz, who got her doctorate degree in anthropology, says she is well-suited to tackle the way policy affects the evolving landscape of the high-tech industry. "I specialized in social change," she said.

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