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Stamps.com executives step down

The online postage company says its president has returned the company's board of directors and that its chief financial officer and comptroller are leaving to pursue other endeavors.

Stamps.com said Monday that its president, chief financial officer and comptroller have stepped down.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company, which offers online shipping and postage services, said Loren Smith, who served as president and chief operating officer, has returned to his role on the Stamps.com board of directors.

The company's chief financial officer, John LaValle, and comptroller, Candelario Andalon, are leaving the company to "pursue other endeavors," the company said in a statement.

Stamps.com chief executive John Payne said Smith took on the additional roles to aid the company during a period of expansion. Smith became president and chief operating officer in October 1999. Payne will take over his duties until the company finds a replacement.

"We are grateful for his contributions that have helped grow Stamps.com into the clear leader in its space, and we are pleased he will continue in his original role as a member of our board," Payne said in a statement.

The market for online postage services, like many Internet-related businesses, has taken a beating on Wall Street. Shares of Stamps.com have languished since the early part of this year, when they reached an all-time high of $98.50. In late morning trading Monday, the shares were down 31 cents, or almost 9 percent, to $3.31 on the Nasdaq.

In September, the company's shares spiked on news that its services would be packaged with Intuit's financial software. However, in the same month, its shares were downgraded from a "trading buy" to "market outperform" by Goldman Sachs.

Stamps.com is also in the middle of a patent dispute with Pitney Bowes. Last month, the postal giant filed a lawsuit against Stamps.com charging that the online company had infringed on its four shipping patents.

Payne said Stamps.com is still on a sound financial course, regardless of the departures. "There are no such issues in this situation. We remain very well positioned to continue the drive toward achieving our business objectives," he said.

Stamps.com targets its mailing and shipping services toward small businesses, large corporations and e-commerce companies. It has relationships with the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and Federal Express. Stamps.com also runs a subsidiary called EncrypTix to sell tickets and other secure documents through the Internet.