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Prodigy names new CEO

Continuing its efforts to restructure, Prodigy names Samer Salameh, formerly of SBC Communications, president and chief executive officer.

Continuing its efforts to restructure, Prodigy today named Samer Salameh president and chief executive officer.

Salameh replaces Paul DeLacey, who had served as president and CEO of Prodigy since 1996. DeLacey, as announced previously, had moved into a new role as strategic adviser to the company's chairman of the board, Greg Carr, and will remain on the board of directors.

Salameh will assume daily operational and management responsibilities for the company and will join the board of directors. He will report to Carr.

Previously, Salameh served as director of the long distance division for Tel?fonos de M?xico at SBC Communications.

Prodigy's investors include Carso Global Telecom of Mexico, which is a publicly traded company that is a major shareholder of Tel?fonos de M?xico.

Prodigy also announced today that it has named three new members to the board of directors: Arturo Elias, a consulting adviser to the president of Tel?fonos de M?xico and a member of the board of directors of such companies as Sears Roebuck de M?xico, Blockbuster Video Mexico, and Carso Global Telecom; Luis Lopez, CEO of TelMex/Sprint Communications; and James Nakfoor, vice president of securities trading for Inversora Bursati.

The appointment of Salameh comes on the heels of Prodigy's recent re-organization into three operating divisions, including Prodigy Internet, Prodigy Solutions, and Prodigy International. Today's announcement is the latest in a string of events aimed at buffing the company's image and focusing on its core business--creating and distributing online and Internet-related services and software.

Prodigy International will focus on emerging markets such as China, Africa, and South America. Prodigy Solutions, the technology arm of Prodigy, will sell software, such as chat, email, and intranet applications, to businesses and other ISPs. Prodigy Internet is the next generation of Prodigy's classic service, which currently has 750,000 members.

"With all the changes, we needed someone to head it up," said Barry Kluger, a company spokesman.

Prodigy, which was the first to operate a nationwide consumer online network, sold its network to SplitRock Services in August in an effort to save costs. Now the online service pays SplitRock for usage instead of spending millions to upgrade its network.

The money saved is being devoted to developing new technologies, such as new tools based on Internet standards, as well as additional content, advertising, and worldwide expansion, said Kluger.

Prodigy, whose customers run the range of consumers, Web site operators, and other businesses, also is looking to develop more content and services for its online service.