Exec brings financial background to post

Former Tele-Communications Inc. vice chairman Jerome Kern has joined LinkShare Corp. as CEO.

Kern was already on the board of directors of the privately owned New York-based company that tracks consumer purchases for online retailers from the time they click on a banner ad to the close of the transaction.

He replaces CEO Stephen Messer, who will continue as chairman and remain LinkShare’s e-commerce and technology visionary. Prexy and founder Heidi Messer will continue to broker business agreements with Kern and manage the company’s non-technology business operations, including sales and marketing.

“I see my role as bringing experience and access to the financial community,” Kern told Daily Variety. “My background is in dealmaking. I went into this because this company is all about deals.”

Kern most recently helped oversee AT&T’s acquisition of TCI. He has also repped major transactions for Comcast, Ted Turner and others.

Kern’s move marks yet another transition into the Internet arena for a cable exec following AOL prexy Bob Pittman and Lycos’ Barry Diller.

LinkShare serves as an indie third party for online retailers, tracking and verifying customer referrals and transactions, and managing the related revenue structures.

About 150 retailers, including Avon, Dell Computer Corp., Borders, 1-800-Flowers and Omaha Steaks, use LinkShare’s service. The company manages 65,000 Web sites for them.

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