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PointCast's changing of the guard

PointCast chief operating officer Philip Koen is named the company's chief executive, replacing Dave Dorman, who was named CEO of the AT&T-British Telecom joint venture.

PointCast chief operating officer Philip Koen today was named the company's chief executive, replacing Dave Dorman, who was named CEO of the AT&T-British Telecom joint venture.

As first reported by CNET News.com, Dorman will remain chairman of PointCast's board, helping to complete negotiations to attract investors in the privately held "push" company. Although his departure is a blow to PointCast's plans to form a joint venture with Baby Bells focusing on high-speed Internet access, sources said the deal with the telcos remains under serious negotiation.

PointCast's goal remains to Dorman Newsmaker create a venture for the Bells that is similar to @Home, the high-speed Net access service run by cable companies. One sticking point in the talks involves getting multiple parties in different geographical locations to agree to terms for a national broadband venture, sources said. They did not discuss any timetable for completing the deal.

Sources downplayed the possibility that Dorman's dual roles at AT&T and PointCast might hinder negotiations with the Bells, arguing that the AT&T-BT joint venture is an independent undertaking. AT&T and the Bells are fierce competitors under deregulation.

PointCast's board accepted Dorman's resignation last night. He will take up his new role on April 1.

"I am delighted to take this opportunity to lead the new AT&T and BT joint venture," Dorman said in a statement.

In his new position Dorman will head the global venture announced by AT&T and BT last July. It will combine the trans-border assets and operations of each company, including their existing international networks, their international traffic, and all of their international products for business clients.

"[Dorman] is uniquely qualified to head our new business," said AT&T chief executive Michael Armstrong. "He has experience in launching successful start-ups, and in running multibillion dollar businesses--just what we need to head a global venture that, on day one, will be a $10 billion company."

Dorman was recruited to PointCast with much fanfare. His goal was to take the company public last year, but that plan was withdrawn while the company tried to find a strategic partner.

Dorman is returning to an industry where he spent most of his career. Before coming to PointCast, he was executive vice president of SBC. The CEO title at the AT&T-BT joint venture is a bigger job than running PointCast, although Dorman previously expressed a strong desire to take a Silicon Valley company public.

Koen's appointment at PointCast, which also includes his becoming president, is effective immediately.

According to a PointCast statement, Koen has more than 22 years of experience in general management, operations, and finance. He previously was vice president of finance and chief financial officer of Etec. Koen was also tapped to become a PointCast director.