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Ashford.com taps former Compaq exec

Kenny Kurtzman, former general manager of the computer-maker's Compaq.com division, will become the watch retailer's chief executive.

Online watch retailer Ashford.com, with a fresh $30 million in venture capital in the bank, has tapped a former Compaq Computer manager as its chief executive.

Kenny Kurtzman, whose last position was general manager of the Compaq.com division, is the second Compaq executive to join the Houston-based watch retailer. David Gow, formerly Compaq's director of strategic planning, is chief financial officer.

Last month Ashford.com, formerly called Newwatch.com, landed second-round venture backing from Benchmark Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Bowman Capital Management.

The watch storefront, launched last year, offers more than 6,000 watches from 60 manufacturers. It has signaled its interest in expanding into related product categories.

With the name change, Ashford.com expects high marketing expenses to acquire customers and build its brand. But one e-commerce analyst notes that the repeat purchases for watches aren't as high as for popular online categories like music CDs, books, software, or apparel. That will mean continued high spending to draw new customers, Jupiter Communications' Ken Cassar believes.