Prodigy taps consultant for chief operating officer post

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Prodigy Services Co. named William J. Lansing to the new post of exec VP-chief operating officer. Mr. Lansing had been a partner at management consultancy McKinsey & Co. The move caps several months of senior-level hirings at Prodigy.

Mr. Lansing will oversee marketing, design, software development and new-product development. While at McKinsey, he consulted on interactive media and technology issues.

Prodigy also said it named Gerry Mueller exec VP-general manager of its new Internet Services Group, from VP-operations. Mr. Mueller will oversee Prodigy's work in the Internet access business.

The executive hirings--Mr. Lansing's in particular--have some speculating that Prodigy is brushing up its ranks to be more attractive to a potential buyer. Sears, Roebuck & Co., which owns half of Prodigy, is known to be shopping its stake in the company. No buyers have surfaced yet, although some speculate that IBM Corp., Prodigy's other owner, could buy Sears out.

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