SAN JOSE — Struggling high-speed Internet access provider ExciteAtHome Corp. picked a telecommunications industry veteran as its new chairman and chief executive Monday, ending a seven-month search.
ExciteAtHome also announced a net loss of $832 million in the first quarter and an operating loss that fell short of Wall Street’s recently lowered expectations, and lowered its outlook for the second quarter.
The company’s new leader is Patti S. Hart, 44, most recently head of Telocity Inc., a provider of digital subscriber lines that was bought last year by Hughes Electronics Corp. She also has been head of Sprint Corp.’s long-distance division.
Hart replaces George Bell, who had said when he stepped down as CEO in September that he would stay on as chairman. He now will leave altogether.
Hart joins ExciteAtHome just as the company is dealing with a cash crisis and a gutted stock price and figuring out its future direction.
She said she would address those issues while providing “clarity and focus for the company.”
ExciteAtHome was formed in 1999 by the merger of Internet portal Excite and cable-modem provider At Home, which just happened to be based across the street from each other in Redwood City. AT&T Corp. owns 47 percent of the company but has 74 percent voting interest.
By marrying Web content and high-speed access, the company was billed as a potential challenger to America Online and a strong force for bringing broadband to the masses.
But while the cable-modem business has grown decently, and now counts 3.2 million subscribers, the portal business has suffered immensely due to the plunge in Internet advertising.
ExciteAtHome said last week it needs between $75 million and $80 million to make it through the year and is considering several options, including selling off the Web portal or selling the backbone of its network to AT&T and leasing it back.
Shares of AtHome Corp., which does business as ExciteAtHome, lost 20 cents, nearly 5 percent, to $3.87 on Monday on the Nasdaq Stock Market, well off the 52-week high of $28. Shares sank another 17 cents in after-hours trading.
Excluding one-time charges, the company lost $61.6 million, or 15 cents per share, down from a loss of $4.6 million, or 1 cent per share, in the year-ago period.
The operating loss was in line with the company’s announcement last week that it would lose 14 cents or 15 cents per share.
However, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call were expecting 14 cents.
Revenue rose 3 percent from the first quarter of 2000, to $142.8 million.
Chief Financial Officer Mark McEachern said the company’s second-quarter operating loss is expected to be 16 cents or 17 cents per share, well off the First Call consensus forecast of a loss of 9 cents a share.
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