WorldGate founder Krisbergh resigns

I wrote an "obituary" on WorldGate Communications Inc. more than a year ago when the Trevose company was short on cash and actually shut down.

"Without new financing, WorldGate may be gone from the world," I wrote.

Company founder Hal M. Krisbergh called, not to complain, but say, "Stay tuned." And in fact, the company did land some financing, reopened and restarted its videophone service called Ojo in a matter of weeks.

As a small technology company in the competitive telecommunications industry, WorldGate has spent 14 years fighting for survival. Earlier this month, it appeared finally to have linked up with a strong corporate partner willing to take a chance on video telephony.

An affiliate of ACN Inc., a privately held direct-selling telecommunications firm, acquired a controlling interest in WorldGate in exchange for $1.45 million. WorldGate shareholders had approved the deal March 20.

At the time, Krisbergh called it "an important step forward for our company."

But it's a step that Krisbergh won't be taking with the company he started. He submitted his resignation as CEO April 9. So did Randall J. Gort, WorldGate's general counsel.

In a statement issued by WorldGate today, Krisbergh called his 14 years at the company "a rewarding experience." He went on:

The talented and dedicated people of WorldGate have built a strong brand in the video phone market and under the Company's new leadership, are well positioned for a successful future.

Under new chairman Robert Stevanovski, WorldGate named three new board members: Anthony Cassara, president of a business consultancy focused on telecom; Richard P. Nespola, CEO of the Management Network Group Inc., a publicly traded telecom consultancy; and Geoffrey Boyd, who was formerly CFO of Eschelon Telecom.

Stevanovski said that the company will be looking for a new CEO to replace Krisbergh, new sales and marketing exec, new in-house counsel and "additional engineering resources." Also it's looking for office space near WorldGate's current Trevose headquarters for its engineering team.