FitzGerald in Financial Charge

John P. FitzGerald has been named chief financial officer of eTour.

The Internet “tour” company is hoping FitzGerald’s experienceand business savvy will help guide the way through the increasingly slippery slopes of the e-commerce sector.

FitzGerald, 37, joins the 2-year-old Atlanta-based company with 13 years of financial and operational experience in the communications, energy and e-commerce arenas.

As vice president of finance at CheckFree Corp. here, FitzGerald was responsible for only part of the financial picture.

“My goal has been to be a CFO at a leading-edge company,” FitzGerald said. “[And] CheckFree already has one.”

Prior to joining CheckFree, Fitz-Gerald spent three years at MFS Communications, now a subsidiary of MCI WorldCom. MFS provides business-to-business Internet and telephony services.

“At MFS we started from scratch to build the company from private to public. That’s part of what I’ll be doing at eTour,” said FitzGerald.

A free service, operates asa personal “tour guide,” connecting individuals with editor-selectedWeb sites based on the user’s interest.

“Our competition is everyone and no one,” said chief executive officer Roger Barnette. “Everyone who sells on-line competes, but we deliver users one ata time. Nothing is more effective than that.”

That was another part of the company’s appeal for FitzGerald.

“We have a lot of places to take this business. Our immediate challenge is to prioritize our investments and maximize shareholder value,” FitzGerald said.

A major part of FitzGerald’s charge will be to help take the company public “when we’re ready,” said Barnette. “John has a blend of expertise in small business growth and development including the Wall Street analyst community.”

An initial public offering is clearly not an option at the moment. In fact, is reported to have recently cut its 150 member staff by 10 percent. Barnette would not disclose 1999 earnings.

“We’re focusing on profitability and costs,” Barnette said. “Hiring John is a sign of our good health.”

FitzGerald comes on board at a time when is under increasing pressure to generate a revenue flow to supplement the$50 million in venture capital raised since 1998.