UK MD leaves Netscape's drive to direct market

Steve Voller has left Netscape as UK managing director and been replaced by former Barclays Bank man Phil Battison.

The appointment of Battison will see a shift in Netscape's strategy towards setting up direct corporate accounts in the banking and finance sector, an area in which Battison has worked for Netscape the past two years.

Voller's departure follows poor European performance from the Internet software maker and loss of European share to Microsoft, but a company spokesman denied he was pushed from the position.

"He has done what he came in to do, which was to ramp up the indirect channel," said the spokesman. "I don't know where he has gone. I don't think it's to spend more time with the family."

Netscape has established a channel of 200 'Affiliate Partners' fulfilling a company goal for 1997 and that achievement is being attributed to Voller's work.

But the shift towards building its "enterprise contract market" did need a new face, according to the company, which is also looking to expand into other emerging markets such as computer-telephony integration.

Netscape will formally unveil its goals for 1998 in two weeks time.