AOL - Gossip Watch

David Cassel (
Sun, 13 Oct 1996 23:35:13 -0700 (PDT)

			    First Wives Club?  

A reporter who interviewed Steve Case in 1993 told me that during an
out-of-state stop, the only person in Case's hotel suite was the staffer
who organized the interview--Jean Villanueva.  That was the year she moved
from marketing to corporate communications.  She's been with the company
since 1988. 

Case divorced his wife of 11 years, after three children, telling his
Board of Directors in March that he has a "personal relationship" with
Jean Villanueva.  At a recent publicity stop, an AOL executive assured me
that Jean Villanueva was very nice, a good person.  Another observer
described her as "gorgeous". 

Friday Villanueva announced a 6-month personal leave from the company. 

When AOL fired Bill Razzouk as Chief Operating Officer, they also cited
personal reasons, saying Razzouk wasn't sure he wanted to relocate his
family to Virginia.  The Wall Street Journal doubted this, pointing out
Razzouk sold his home in Tennessee and spent $1.7 million dollars on a new
one in Viriginia (8/7/96). 

This creates needless skepticism around Villanueva's stated reason for
leaving-- "pressing needs" of her family.  "We look forward to her
returning in a senior role," Case said--adding "Given the critical nature
of Corporate Communications, we feel the need to appoint a replacement as
Jean steps out of this role." 


Tuesday Bill Razzouk signed up with a company called Advanta--whose main
business is issuing credit cards and home mortgage loans.  His mission: 
start a consumer online service. 

AOL stock closed Friday at 24 5/8 -- this is another one-year low.  And
they got off easy-- earlier it was trading at 21 1/8.  That still left it
with a one-day drop of 4.37%; total drop for the week: 15.8%.  (There's a
sobering graph at

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