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Evslin to leave WorldNet for start-up

The founder and head of AT&T's WorldNet service will leave to head AT&T-backed telephony services start-up ITXC Corporation.

    The founder and head of AT&T's (T) WorldNet service, Tom Evslin, will leave to head start-up ITXC Corporation, a venture backed by AT&T and Net telephony firm VocalTec Communications.

    ITXC, which stands for Internet telephony exchange carrier, will provide interexchange services to Internet telephony service providers (ITSPs) including routing and settlement services based on Internet protocols. As telephony providers and others begin to offer point-to-point telephony services, they will need such services, which are similar to those that already exist in the traditional phone companies, according to AT&T.

    "IT has been swallowing all the data protocols, Evslin said in an interview today. "The advantages of having everything on IP is greater and greater, and the last great opportunity is voice data switching. Now we can handle voice in IP packets. When you can do that, you can build all kinds of data applications."

    Evslin, who founded AT&T's Internet service provider, WorldNet, in 1994, has been a vocal advocate for Internet services. At AT&T he was responsible for developing, operating, and marketing Net access to over 900,000 consumers. In February, he issued a reliability challenge to other ISPs, saying WorldNet would become more accountable to its customers by posting daily statistics on the reliability of its network.

    "I do feel bad about leaving my baby," he said of the WorldNet service. "But there are an awful lot of good people at WorldNet." Evslin said he will remain in his current position until he is replaced. "We are looking for someone very strong to lead the team, outside the WorldNet organization, but inside AT&T."

    Evslin's move is the second major management change at AT&T in the last week. Last Wednesday, John Walters, heir apparent to AT&T chairman Robert Allen, resigned after the board decided they would not promote him to chief executive officer from president in January.

    But an AT&T spokesman said that Evslin's move did not indicate a larger management shakeup.

    "Tom's departure is totally unrelated to Walter's," said Mike Miller, an AT&T spokesman. "This has been in the works for a while, you just don't start a new company in a week. Tom wasn't moved; leaving was a choice he made."

    Evslin said that ITXC will begin providing routing and settlement services at the end of 1997 at the earliest.