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Critical Path Names New CEO

Beleaguered E-mail messaging services provider Critical Path Inc. named William McGlashan as chief executive officer yesterday. He was appointed interim president/CEO in April 2001.

McGlashan, who has held executive positions at venture capital and technology firms, said his task now is to help Critical Path get back on its feet.

“Since Bill jumped in nine months ago to help drive the turnaround of Critical Path, we have accomplished what we set out to do,” said David Hayden, executive chairman and founder.

In 2001, the company reduced its outstanding debt and lowered expenses. In November it arranged for $95 million in financing, which retired about $65 million of its debt and left it with $30 million in cash.

Critical Path, San Francisco, said in April that it was refocusing its business to concentrate on its core e-mail messaging services. It laid off 450 employees, or 43 percent of its staff. Earlier in the year the company said its previous management team was responsible for some “financial irregularities” and that they reported $13.4 million in sales that either never occurred or should have been recorded as revenue. An additional $5.9 million in revenue was taken off Critical Path's books and will be recorded in future quarters. The company reported a $1.85 billion loss for 2000.

In December, Critical Path settled a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against it by science fiction author Harlan Ellison. The lawsuit accused Critical Path and subsidiary RemarQ Communities Inc. — an online site that lets customers read postings to Internet newsgroups — of copyright infringement after RemarQ posted some of Ellison's short stories on its site without permission. RemarQ was acquired by Critical Path in August 2000 and renamed Supernews.

The lawsuit also named America Online as a defendant. The action against AOL has not been dismissed and is expected to go to trial Feb. 26.

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