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Wayne Gattinella resigns as CEO of WebMD

Online health information firm also halts sale plans and expects 2012 earnings to drop

Wayne Gattinella has resigned as CEO and president of US online healthcare information firm WebMD.

The has also halted its proposed sale plans and said it expects earnings for 2012 to decrease.

Gattinella, who has had been in the position since 2005, will be replaced on an interim basis by current chief financial officer and chief operating officer Anthony Vuolo.

Martin Wygod, chairman of WebMD's board of directors, commented:  "We thank Wayne for his contributions in making WebMD the leader in health information services.

“With my support and that of the management committee, I am confident that Tony will lead a smooth transition as the board conducts a search for a new CEO."

WebMD did not give an explanation for Gattinella's resignation, although the company did say fourth quarter sales activity for advertising and sponsorship products was 'less than anticipated'.

The earnings outlook for 2012 was also disappointing, with revenue expected to be as much as 2-8 per cent lower than 2011.

The company said the lower revenues resulted from its pharmaceutical company customers managing the effects of patent expiries and the consequent impact on their marketing budgets.

WebMD said it expects the second half of 2012 to be slightly better than the first half for revenues, and the period would also see more products launched, although they are unlikely to contribute significantly to 2012.

WebMD had previously been seeking to sell the business, and the board of directors formed a committee of independent directors which had held discussions with several potential buyers.

The committee has now terminated these discussions with its potential buyers.

12th January 2012

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