Barry Baker has resigned from his post as president and COO of USA Networks. Baker joined the company in January 1999 to pull together its diverse assets, but said the time had come for him to run a company of his own.

USA chairman and CEO Barry Diller stressed that the departure was amicable: "We asked Barry Baker to join USA to help up operate a company whose growth was moving faster than our ability to organise it coherently," Diller said in a statement. "During this past year he has done great work in both staffing and stitching together the disparate parts of the company'But, as good as he is as a COO, his history and his talents lie in being a chief executive."

Diller added that the company will be reorganised and that he has no plans to fill Baker's post. He also said that the merger of Seagram, which owns 43% of USA, and Vivendi had not influenced the move.

Before joining USA, Baker held the post of CEO Designate of US broadcasting group Sinclair Communications where he oversaw a business comprising 64 television and 54 radio stations.