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Tech Industry

Gap hires former eToys chief

Toby Lenk, former boss of the dot-com flameout and once one of the 100 wealthiest technology executives, lands a new job as president of the clothing retailer's online division.

Toby Lenk, the former boss of dot-com flameout eToys, has landed a new job at Gap Inc. as president of the clothing retailer's online division.

Gap announced the appointment of Lenk, 41, on Thursday. His new duties include overseeing the online businesses of Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy. Lenk will report to Gap Chief Executive Paul Pressler and replaces Michael Tucci, who resigned the position.

As founder and chief executive of eToys, Lenk commanded the spectacular rise and fall of one of the leading dot-coms of the Internet boom. eToys launched an initial public offering in 1999, raising $166 million at a price of $20 per share. In October of that year, the stock hit a high of $84.25, and Lenk made the Forbes list of the 100 wealthiest technology executives, with a net worth of $325.8 million.

A one-time favorite of investors, analysts and the media, the company spent big on advertising, marketing and Web site technology. But when the spending failed to produce profits, investors began pulling out in droves. The company finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001 under mounting losses and after a disastrous holiday season in 2000 that saw its sales fall about $100 million short of projections.

As part of the bankruptcy liquidation, the company sold off most of its inventory and intellectual property, including its name and Web site address, to toy store chain KB Toys. KB Toys later resurrected the eToys Web site.

Prior to founding eToys, Lenk was a vice president at Walt Disney.