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Bastiaens quits Quarterdeck

Quarterdeck, a PC utilities and Internet software marketer that has been battered with two unprofitable quarters, Wednesday announces the resignation of its chief executive.

Quarterdeck, a PC utilities and Internet software marketer that has been battered with two unprofitable quarters, announced on Wednesday the resignation of its chief executive.

Gaston Bastiaens, who also served as Quarterdeck president, said he is leaving to pursue a new venture that he will disclose in the near future. He will remain on the company's board and serve as a consultant.

Quarterdeck (QDEK), meanwhile, named two temporary copresidents to run the company until a permanent replacement is found.

King Lee, a Quarterdeck board member and chief executive of Wynd Communications, and Anatoly Tikhman, a senior vice president of Quarterdeck's utility business, are sharing the presidential role. Tikhman is also a candidate for the chief executive position, said Ellen Spooren, a Quarterdeck spokewoman.

The two men will oversee the company at a time when it has posted two successive down quarters. In the recent quarter which ended June 30, Quarterdeck reported a net loss of nearly $23 million, compared with profits of $3.4 million a year ago.

Sales also declined to $16 million for the third quarter, compared with $28.1 million a year ago.

The company had attributed the earnings loss and sales decline to customers awaiting the launch of the newer versions of its products. Quarterdeck expects to return to profitability in the fourth quarter, when it releases upgrades to its utility products MagnaRAM, CleanSweep and HiJaak Pro.

Bastiaens said his departure was due to an interest in pursuing a new venture and a sense that he had positioned the company to move strongly into both the utilities and Internet market.

Analysts say Bastiaens brought vision and a new direction to Quarterdeck when he arrived in January of last year.

"He turned around the company from a one-product company to one of multiple products," said Tarun Chandra, analyst with Laidlaw Equities. "In the last two quarters they've had a problem holding market share while also trying to step into the Internet market."

Quarterdeck is looking to hire a new CEO that will implement the groundwork that Bastiaens established, Spooren said.