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Newsmagazine Publisher Named CEO of GeoCities

April 16, 1998|JENNIFER OLDHAM | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Putting the finishing touches on a management team that could engineer an initial public offering later this year, Santa Monica-based GeoCities on Tuesday named U.S. News & World Report President and Publisher Thomas R. Evans its chief executive officer.

Evans, 43, will replace David Bohnett, who will remain as chairman of the board. Bohnett, who founded GeoCities in 1994, will work on long-range growth plans for the firm.

Evans said his publishing experience will help him increase awareness of the Internet's fastest-growing online community, which provides free home pages for about 1.7 million customers. He will take the helm May 4.

"It's been under-promoted, under-branded and undersold," Evans said. "It's one of the top 10 sites on the Web, but it's probably the least known by the consumer. People have obviously heard of Yahoo and Microsoft, but GeoCities has a real opportunity to push its brand name and community concept."

According to the research group RelevantKnowledge, http://www.geocities.com was the seventh-most-visited Web site in March.

The company is planning to launch its IPO after Labor Day, but Evans said it would depend on the firm's performance this year.

The company recently made two other key hires: Michael G. Barrett, formerly vice president of advertising at Disney Online, to the same position at GeoCities, and Chief Financial Officer Stephen L. Hansen, who was CFO at Universal Studios.

GeoCities received a cash infusion this year when Santa Clara-based search engine company Yahoo purchased a $5-million stake and Softbank Holdings Inc., the U.S. unit of Japan's Softbank Inc., invested $25 million in the firm.

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