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White Pine chief calls it quits

CEO Howard Berke resigns from his post at the videoconferencing firm, which has been plagued by increasing competition.

White Pine Software (WPNE), the maker of videoconferencing client software CU-SeeMe, announced today that Howard Berke has resigned as chairman, chief executive, and president.

White Pine cited personal reasons for his departure and noted that Berke will continue as a company director and consultant. The company plans to hire a search firm to recruit a new president.

White Pine named its director and former CEO Arthur Bruno as chairman and appointed a management committee to temporarily take over the president and chief executive duties. The management committee will be headed by Killko Caballero, chief technology officer and vice president of the company's research and development department.

White Pine has been plagued by increasing competition from Microsoft's NetMeeting, Intel's Internet VideoPhone, and other low-cost, software-only competitors.

White Pine, which announced the resignation after the market's close, saw its stock end the day at 2-5/8, up 1/8 of a point. However, it has seen its stock plummet since its initial public offering last October, when it was priced at $9 a share.

Earlier this year, the company surprised analysts by reporting a net loss far larger than what was expected. White Pine posted a loss of $2.3 million, or 26 cents a share, for the first quarter, compared with a loss of $962,000, or 16 cents, a year ago. Revenues of $2.6 million were reported for the quarter, up 25 percent from a year ago.