CompuServe Euro chief executive joins exodus as budget cuts bite

CompuServe’s most senior executive outside the US, Steven Stanbrook, has become the third director to leave the company’s European operation in two months.

Stanbrook, who is vice-president international, will take up a post as executive vice-president of household cleaning products company SC Johnson.

He had been the first to fill the new post at CompuServe and will leave next month.

Last week Mike Williams, marketing communications director, left to join Internet games company Entertainment Online as European marketing director. And last month marketing director Alan Lawson also resigned.

Observers blame the departures on savage cuts in the marketing budgets caused by a shaky stock market debut and a substantial fall in US membership. The UK budget is understood to have been cut from 10m to 2m.

A former director of the company says: “Some of the directors feel let down over budget pledges and that is why they have left.”

Other sources close to the company say that Stanbrook, who was previously president of food company Sara Lee Bakery, could not adjust to such a different company.

CompuServe is the biggest on-line service provider in the UK, with about 400,000 members. The next biggest is Demon, with 70,000 members.

News Analysis, page 21; New Media, page 30

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