Exec cites back surgery as reason for departure

Tom Epley said Monday he is resigning as CEO of online talent casting and scouting site Iam.com, though he continues as chairman. Move comes the same day site cut 25% of its staff.

The pinkslipping of 25 employees in Santa Monica and New York is being heralded as part of a reorganization before Iam.com acquires additional ventures to boost its offerings.

“We plan to build aggressively off of the brand equity that we have established and are considering a number of acquisitions that will solidify our position in the entertainment industry,” said prexy Edward Menicheschi.

Epley cited as the reason for his departure a diminished role in the company since having major back surgery last month.

“Since Edward Menicheschi has taken on an increased role in running the company’s daily operations, we felt that the timing made sense,” Epley said.

Critics are comparing Iam.com’s staff reduction with other recent cutbacks or shutterings at Web ventures — APBNews.com, iWin.com, Salon.com, Reel.com, ToySmart.com, DEN — but the company is saying that things are business as usual.

“These staffing changes come as a normal outgrowth of understanding where our business opportunities lie,” Menicheschi said. “This reorganization allows Iam.com to allocate our internal assets and our service offering against specific market opportunities as well as speed our internal development process.”

The Web site recently secured $35.7 million in venture capital financing, with much of it going to advertising and promotional support.

Iam.com enables aspiring actors, models, musicians and dancers to link up with entertainment industryites.

Besides Epley, its board members include Joe Roth, head of Revolution Studios; director Spike Lee; Bill Stensrud, general partner of Enterprise Partners Venture Capital; and Jeff Drazan, general partner of Sierra Ventures.

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