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Former Disney exec tries start-up

Richard Wolpert, former president of Disney Online, resurfaces after a month as a partner in an Internet start-up.

Richard Wolpert, the former president of Disney Online who last month abruptly left the media giant's Internet department, has resurfaced as a partner in an Internet start-up.

Wolpert had left his position last month to pursue other interests, according to Disney. He yielded responsibility of Disney Online to Jake Winebaum, chairman of the Buena Vista Internet Group.

Wolpert today told CNET News.com that he is now partnering with Ron Burkle, chairman of Yucaipa Companies, to spin off a consumer-oriented Internet retail company. He would not immediately provide more details about the Century City, California-based firm, but said it would be rolled out gradually over the next two months.

During his tenure at Disney, Wolpert was central in developing the Disney Internet Guide or "Dig," an Internet portal geared toward children and families. Wolpert also oversaw development of the Daily Blast, an online service for children, and Disney's email client "D-mail."

However, Wolpert was under scrutiny by industry observers about why it took Disney Online more than a year to release a Macintosh-compatible version of the Daily Blast.

As for his departure from Disney, Wolpert denied rumors that he had been forced out of the company.

"It had gotten to point where I could do something new," Wolpert said. "I made my mind up that there was something else I that I wanted do."