Another Executive Departure Rocks LivePerson

Ryan Naraine

Updated · Mar 13, 2001

Shares in e-commerce software firm LivePerson, Inc. slipped as much as 19 percent to 93 cents this morning on news that the company's president and COO Christopher McQuilkin had quit the post after only two months on the job.

In a filing with the SEC today, the New York-based LivePerson said McQuilkin left the company to pursue personal interests. McQuilkin, a former chief operating officer of National Discount Brokers, only landed the post in January, replacing Dean Margolis, who also left the company “to pursue other interests.”

LivePerson CEO Rob LoCascio told atNewYork McQuilkin has “his own personal reasons” for resigning the post after barely six weeks on the job.

“Chris had personal reasons for leaving. He was here for six weeks and these things happen. We just have to look ahead and deal with them.”

LoCascio said there were no plans to find a replacement for McQuilkin. Chief financial officer Timothy Bixby, who has been with the firm since its formation, will take over as president.

“In this climate, everything's seen as a negative,” LoCascio said, referring to the perception of management problems. “It's a difficult environment for Internet companies. (We have) gone through a lot but we're lucky that we have a great team, great customers and a great products.”

McQuilkin's exit comes just one month after the departure of executive VP Scott Cohen, who was responsible for LivePerson's worldwide sales and strategic alliances.

On Cohen's departure, LoCascio said: “We went through a restructuring a couple of weeks ago. Scott had a two-year contract which had expired and we decided not to renew it.”

LivePerson, which builds software that allow e-commerce plays to chat in real-time with customers, sliced its staff by 35 percent in January, a move that affected 60 employees.

The application services provider said the staff cuts, will affect the company's offices in New York and San Francisco, would save approximately $5 million this year.

LivePerson, one of a handful of Internet companies in Silicon Alley to go public in 2000, has yet to see a profitable quarter. In the fourth quarter of 2000, the company posted a net loss of $8.4 million, or 25 cents per share on revenues of $2.3 million.

In early activity today, LivePerson shares slipped below the $1.00 mark for the first time this year, trading at 93 cents at press time. The stock's 52-week high is $11.00 and year low is 87 cents.

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