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EarthLink CEO Charles Betty Dies of Cancer

Betty led the company from a regional ISP of a half million subscribers to a nationwide company with more than 5 million customers.

Antone Gonsalves

January 3, 2007

1 Min Read

Charles "Garry" Betty, president and chief executive of EarthLink, has died of cancer, the Internet service provider said Wednesday. He was 49.

Mike Lunsford will remain as interim CEO, a position he has held since Nov. 27, when Betty took a leave of absence. Betty, who had served as CEO since 1996, died Tuesday.

"Garry was an extraordinary business partner and friend, and he will be sorely missed," Sky Dayton, founder of EarthLink and chief executive of wireless service provider Helio, said in a statement. "Garry was at once the general you wanted at your side in battle and the friend you wanted to celebrate with when the war was won."

Betty joined EarthLink in January 1996 and took over the job of CEO from Dayton four months later. Betty led the company from a regional ISP of a half million subscribers to a nationwide company with more than 5 million customers. He also steered the company through its initial public offering in 1997 and its merger with rival MindSpring in 2000.

Before joining EarthLink, Betty served as CEO of Digital Communications Associates. He was the youngest CEO of a New York Stock Exchange-listed company, according to Atlanta-based EarthLink.

Betty is survived by his wife, Kathy. EarthLink has set up a tribute site with an open forum for Betty's friends and acquaintances. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that those wishing to pay their respects send donations to the Garry Betty Foundation, which was established to further cancer research.

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