AltaVista is searching for a new CEO, after Rod Schrock, chief executive officer, announced Thursday that he will leave the company immediately.

Schrock told executives of his decision to leave the company a few weeks ago, and says he is confident that AltaVista can continue towards profitability following his departure.

Schrock said he made up his mind to leave the company at about the time of the Sydney Olympics, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family after helping both Compaq and AltaVista grow from small to major companies.

Family man Schrock said: "I've been working like hell for 15 years. I've had a personal goal to spend more time with my family."

AltaVista has launched its search for a new CEO and will look to other companies in the search engine marketplace to fill the position left by his resignation.

Stop gap Greg Memo, president and chief operating officer at AltaVista, and Ken Barber, chief financial officer, will take on the executive responsibilities until a new CEO joins the company.

AltaVista will continue to focus on developing search-engine technology designed to handle the complex demands of large corporations. The company realigned its business strategy about a month ago to concentrate on the needs of big businesses.

On his future, Shrock said: "My real passion is in computing technology. The Internet space is more of a media space."