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Individual ousts CEO

Online news service Individual has fired its CEO following an internal debate over planned investments.

Online news service Individual has fired its CEO after an internal debate over the company's planned investments.

Company founder Yosi Amram, who announced his resignation Wednesday, had called a special shareholders meeting to prod the company's board of directors to move faster in making acquisitions that Amram said were essential to the company's growth.

Amram, who owns 13.2 percent of Individual's stock, was placed on an indefinite leave of absence two weeks ago after a disagreement with the board over the pace of investments. On Wednesday, Amram said he would request "an independent committee be created to evaluate the performance of board members."

Not only was the company's board not impressed with Amram's plans, but it also announced that it had terminated his employment, effective immediately.

"Yosi pursued a wide array of investments and acquisitions unrelated to our core business. We want to make investments that will help us grow," said Bruce Glabe, executive vice president at Individual. He said Amram's firing was not related to any one proposal.

Last month, Amram had informed board members that he planned to establish another company, called Free Spirit Holdings, to invest in the entertainment, media, and health care industries. He proposed investing 100,000 shares of his Individual stock in the venture and had attempted to persuade Individual's board to invest an additional 100,000 shares. The board turned down the plan.

Amram also said he had approached former Apple chairman John Sculley about investing in the venture. The result of that overture was not known.

Amram will remain on the company's board, Glabe said, and the search for a new CEO is under way. In the interim, the company will be managed by a newly created office of the president, which consists of Glabe, senior vice president Jan Bruce, and vice president Robert Lentz.

Individual's board includes representatives from Microsoft, which owns 1.1 million Individual shares, or roughly 9 percent, and Knight-Ridder, which holds 8 percent of the company, or 900,000 shares.