FDs lured by web start-ups.

Quaker Oats and Scottish biochemicals company Axis-Shield have become the latest companies to lose key staff to internet operations, with the FDs of both businesses leaving for the online gold rush. Hemscott.NET, the online financial and investment services provider, appointed Kevin O’Byrne as its new chief financial officer last week. He joins from Quaker Oats, Europe, where he has been finance director since 1995. Meanwhile, Axis-Shield FD Jane Karwoski left to become chief executive of technology company Articulate Solutions. Karwoski is believed to have swapped her £60,000 salary at Axis for an improved package at the specialist hotel internet venture, where she is expected to be given an equity stake, according to reports last week. So far, the profession’s highest-profile departure to a web start-up has been that of Arthur Andersen managing partner and chief executive officer George Shaheen, who quit the firm for US online grocery company Webvan last year. He will receive a multimillion pound share option package. But other prominent internet start-up ventures, such as, which lists later this month, are expected to encourage similar moves on this side of the Atlantic. Last week, PricewaterhouseCoopers launched a business incubator service to foster web entrepreneurs. Leader, page 16.

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