Vizzavi Loses CEO; Announces Layoffs and Reorganisation

08 January 2002

The chief executive of London-headquartered internet portal Vizzavi has resigned amid a rethink of the company’s business model.

A much-hyped joint venture between Vivendi Universal and Vodafone, Vizzavi was launched at the end of internet fever in mid-2000. Its plan was to offer consumers a wireless broadband portal, allowing high-speed web services from mobile phones or personal digital assistants.

However, the first wave of web-enabled mobile phone technology, known as Wireless Application Protocol, largely flopped, and there have been delays in launching next-generation products, leaving Vizzavi as a poor PC-based relation to online rivals MSN, Yahoo! and AOL.

Chief executive Evan Newmark is to leave at the end of the month, to be replaced by chief marketing officer Guy Laurence. In addition, Vizzavi is laying off 100 staffers from its workforce of 800 in eight European countries.

Moreover, the portal’s revenue model is being shaken up. Under the new scheme, Vizzavi will receive 5% of money made by mobile phone operators while subscribers surf the web, plus 80% of revenue from the sale of content such as ring-tones, games and logos. Until now, all earnings were split 50-50 with operators.

News source: Wall Street Journal