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Netcom's CFO jumps ship

A day after Netcom announced Thom Weatherford would resign to join a software firm, Business Objects pipes up.

Business Objects (BOBJY) today said Netcom Online Communications' (NETC) recently departed chief financial officer Clifton "Thom" Weatherford Jr. would fill its vacant CFO post.

Just yesterday, Netcom announced Weatherford would resign to join a San Jose, California, software company. Twenty-four hours later, he was named group vice president and chief financial officer at Business Objects, a maker of business decision support tools. Weatherford will pick up the reins at Business Objects after Labor Day, a company spokeswoman said.

Business Objects CEO Bernard Liautaud said the company was looking for a CFO with experience managing an international company and working with Wall Street. "It was a tough process to extract him from Netcom because Netcom didn't want him to leave," Liautaud said, noting that Weatherford did a very good job at a time when service providers were under attack because the business model wasn't profitable.

Weatherford will officially resign from Netcom August 29. The company's comptroller, Kurt Johnson, will act as interim CFO.

"We appreciate Thom's effort as part of the team that helped Netcom attain its recently announced positive EBITDA on a consolidated basis fully two quarters before it was expected," Dave Garrison, chairman and chief executive of Netcom, said in a statement.

Weatherford's departure follows that of several directors and an executive. In January, two original Netcom investors, Lawrence Lepard and Ofer Nemirovsky, resigned their posts as company directors. At the time, the company did not indicate why the two men left. Don Hutchison, a senior vice president, also left the company last November but was retained as a consultant.

Netcom led the move to $19.95-per-month flat-rate ISP pricing three years ago. It then bucked the trend it had set in March, when it announced a suite of products ranging from Net access at $24.95 a month to complete Web hosting services for $2,000 a month.

The company surprised Wall Street in the second quarter, posting better-than-expected results because of its higher pricing model. Netcom reported a net loss for the quarter of $9.2 million, or 79 cents per share, compared to a loss of $12.6 million, or $1.09 per share in the second quarter of last year.

The loss included $1.7 million associated with the company?s restructuring of its U.K. operation, abandoning consumer connectivity to target small and medium businesses.