Garry Betty, former CEO of ISP EarthLink, died yesterday from complications of liver cancer. (Wikipedia lists the cause of death as adrenal cortical cancer.) He was 49.
According to articles in The Atlanta Journal Constitution and elsewhere, Betty had been with EarthLink for 10 years, previously serving as CEO of Digital Communications Associates. Betty graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, according to an AP report. He stepped down from his EarthLink position just weeks ago after receiving the cancer diagnosis.
According to EarthLink founder Sky Dayton in his entry on a Garry Betty tribute website, “EarthLink would not have ultimately succeeded without Garry. I was the guy that built the plane, and he was the pilot, each of us complementing one another’s particular skill. It was a great partnership.”
EarthLink was founded in July 1994. In December 1994, according to the EarthLink website, the company’s annual gross for its first calendar year was $100,000, an amount less than an average day’s revenue two years later.
Betty was recruited as CEO to help manage the company’s explosive growth. As the Los Angeles Times put it, Betty “oversaw the company’s rise into one of the nation’s largest online service providers and campaigned to bring widespread wireless Internet access to cities.” Betty most recently had been managing the company’s attempts to remake much of the way it does business, the Journal Constitution reports. Atlanta-based EarthLink has about 2,200 employees, and according to a company press release, Mike Lunsford will remain interim CEO, a position he has held since Nov. 27, 2006, when Betty took a leave of absence.
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