News of the executive shuffle sent the company's stock down $1.06, or about 12 percent, to $7.94 by the close of trading at 1 p.m. PST.
Stephan Paternot and Todd Krizelman said they will remain on TheGlobe's board of directors to advise on new products and strategy.
A search for a new chief executive is under way, the two men said in a statement.
At the same time, the company's chief operating officer, Dean Daniels, has been promoted to president. Daniels, who joined TheGlobe in September 1998, had an extensive career at CBS, where he was responsible for all TV network activity on the Internet.
Paternot and Krizelman said that stepping down as chief executives is a natural progression for a company they say is experiencing revenue growth. They pointed out that their talents as entrepreneurs were well served when they launched TheGlobe.com, but now a more experienced managerial staff would better suit the established company.
"We have always been completely commited to the business," Paternot said in an interview this afternoon. "Our goals are to keep building new products and leave managerial responsibilities as well as our relationships with investors to a more seasoned management."
The two men founded TheGlobe five years ago while still college students at Cornell University. The company went public in November 1998 and was an instant sensation.
Just a year ago, Web communities such as TheGlobe, Xoom.com and Tripod were considered the next big hit. But although the home page sites attract millions of Web publishers, analysts today doubt that personal publishing will survive as a standalone business model.
TheGlobe's rise and fall is a good example. After its initial public offering of $4.50 a share, the company saw its stock soar to a high of $48.50 on a split-adjusted basis and then plummet to its current trading price, below $10 a share.