Working in the Internet industry today is no cakewalk, but that's not deterring Charles V. Callahan, who has been named president and CEO of PeopleSupport Inc., a 3-year-old Web-based customer service firm.

He replaces company founder Lance Rosenzweig, who remains company chairman.

"With most startups, there's almost always a transition from founder to outside CEO after some period of time," said Callahan. "You need to bring in someone who has experience building and scaling a sustainable revenue stream."

Callahan, who was most recently a general partner at Triangle Ventures, a private equity and turnaround firm that serves companies in the high-technology industry and business-to-business marketplace, said he had been looking for the right CEO opportunity on and off for years.

Though L.A.-based PeopleSupport does not classify itself as a dot-com company, there still remains a question mark attached to the future prospects of most startups in the Internet sector. Nevertheless, Callahan said the company's $75 million in funding is enough to get through one year of business. PeopleSupport provides customer service via e-mail, live online chat sessions and through phone conversations with its client companies' customers.

Callahan has a plan that consists of building infrastructure, building the management team and solidifying the company's position as a brand.

"A lot of young companies evolve or flail around trying to find their niche," said Callahan. "At one time we were a hosting company, at another we were a would-be application service provider. We want to lock in a positioning."

As far as his first month on the job is concerned, it sounds like Callahan has been monitoring the business essentials that appear to have eluded most startup CEOs for the past few years.

"I spent most of the first 30 days concentrating on the financials," he said, "making sure our cash and cost position are what we want them to be for 2001."

Conor Dougherty

Accounting & Consulting

William H. Ferguson has been elected managing partner of SCA Consulting in Los Angeles. He will be charged with the day-to-day operations of the business, developing the firm's strategy and overseeing its implementation. Ferguson has been with the company since 1998.

Banking & Finance

Lars Ekstrom, Lisa G. Goldman and Edward W. Villeneuve have joined Goldsmith Agio Helms, a middle-market investment banking firm in Los Angeles. The three senior dealmakers are responsible for leading merger-and-acquisition transactions, local marketing and business development for the company. The trio was most recently employed at Greif & Co.

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