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Top execs leave CMGI broadcast unit

ICast chief executive Neil Braun and lieutenant Matt Farber resign, likely because of personality clashes with CMGI chief executive David Wetherell, according to those familiar with the move.

CMGI today confirmed the resignations of Neil Braun and Matt Farber, the two leading executives of its ICast online entertainment and broadcasting venture, amid signs of forced departure.

Braun, a former NBC television president, past chairman of Viacom's entertainment group, and onetime president of Imagine Films Entertainment, was tapped by Internet investment company CMGI to run ICast in February. He joined the Woburn, Massachusetts-based outfit the same day CMGI announced a $100 million investment in the venture.

Farber, formerly with MTV Online, joined in May as chief operating officer. In an interview with CNET, Farber said he decided to leave ICast to pursue a position with another company--a decision he said was sparked by Braun's departure.

Farber declined to reveal the company he plans to join. But he said he will join a company with "a good opportunity in the traditional and new media space."

CMGI did not provide any explanation for the departures. But sources close to the company said Braun departed because of a personality clash with CMGI chief executive David Wetherell.

"Braun left because he didn't want to be under the yoke of [Wetherell]," one source familiar with the decision said.

In the interim, CMGI named Margaret Heffernan president, chief operating officer, and interim CEO for ICast. Before her stint at ICast, Heffernan served as chief executive of ZineZone, an online content and community site targeting adventure seekers.

CMGI also named Stephen Flanagan as president of advertising sales. Flanagan was formerly an executive at SportsLine USA.

"ICast is building a world-class entertainment site, and Margaret's vision and leadership have been key to its development," Wetherell said in a statement.

The exits come as ICast is close to launching a software product. The ICaster, a downloadable application, is expected to be released next week at the Webnoize online music industry conference in Los Angeles. A related service will launch in January 2000, the company has said.