CEO resigns as CNET completes options review

Co-founder Shelby Bonnie steps down in the aftermath of the company's probe into stock options backdating.

Tech Industry
CNET Networks on Wednesday said Shelby Bonnie has resigned as chairman and chief executive after a special committee found that he shared the blame for backdating stock options, sending shares of the technology news and review site down.

The committee also found that a former CNET chief financial officer and the company's general counsel and head of human resource were partly to blame for the options problems. The general counsel and human resource chief have resigned, it said.

Bonnie, a company co-founder, will remain a director.

"I apologize for the option-related problems that happened under my leadership," Bonnie said in a statement. "I believe that the company has come a long way since 2003 in addressing these deficiencies, but am deeply disappointed it happened nonetheless."

The options backdating occurred during the period 1996 through 2003. CNET said it plans to restate its historical financial statements to record noncash charges for compensation expense relating to past option grants.

The company, which reviews electronics and other products on the Web, named Neil Ashe as its new CEO. Jarl Mohn was named nonexecutive chairman. (CNET Networks is the publisher of CNET

CNET said its internal investigation did not conclude that any current employees or any recently resigned employees engaged in intentional wrongdoing.

Executives who have received improperly priced options have agreed to have the options repriced to fair market value, it said.

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