Sanctis is expected to take some time off after he resigns and has not accepted any offers from other companies, sources said. The souring market for Internet companies and NBCi's own struggling stock price have given Sanctis the cue to leave, sources added.
Sanctis, 37, received an options grant last year of 500,000 shares with a strike price of $52.50, according to the company's June proxy. But the company's stock is worth less than $5 a share today.
Robert Silverman, an NBCi spokesman, declined to comment on Sanctis' expected departure.
Sanctis, who has served as president since November 1999, was one of the original NBC executives to spearhead the network's Internet ambitions.
He joined NBC in 1993 and held various management positions over a three-year period, which included general manager of NBC Digital productions. And in 1996 he served as senior vice president and general manager of NBC Multimedia, a wholly owned subsidiary that oversaw the network's Internet and new technology operations.
Sanctis then was tapped as chief operating officer of Snap a month after NBC acquired a stake in the Web portal in 1998. Snap was created by CNET Networks, publisher of News.com.
A year later, NBC raised its Internet ante by acquiring a stake in Xoom.com, a home page publishing site. The company soon combined Xoom with Snap to form NBCi, which went public in November 1999. Sanctis was given the additional title of NBCi president that year.
Soon afterward, the company's stock price reached as high as $106 a share. But like many Internet companies, its stock has taken a beating since April, when Internet companies began falling out of favor with investors. Then in June, the company warned that its losses in the second quarter and the year would exceed expectations because of falling advertising revenues. That sent its stock plummeting, and NBCi shares have not recovered.
The climate grew darker in August, as the company unveiled plans to cut about 20 percent of its work force by the end of the year.
With his departure, Sanctis will join a list of executives who have left NBC's Internet operations. Chris Kitze, former chief executive, resigned in March to take a vice chairman role. Kitze is no longer a board member and was succeeded as CEO by William Lansing. John Harbottle, former chief financial officer, resigned in May to accept another job in Arizona. Anthony Altig formally took over as chief financial officer last month.
It is unclear who will be tapped to replace Sanctis.
CNET Networks, publisher of News.com, has a stake in NBCi.