CEO of AT&T Subsidiary Dies at Age 47

Samuel Starr, the chief executive of AT&T subsidiary Sterling Commerce, has died from a sudden illness.

Starr, 47, died Sunday night after being hospitalized Dec. 24 with a "sudden, serious illness," the company said Tuesday in a statement.


Bob Irwin, senior vice president for global sales, has been named acting president and chief executive of Sterling, a provider of software to enable online commerce and collaboration between different businesses.

Starr joined Sterling in 2000, the same year it was acquired by AT&T, serving in other executive positions before being named president and CEO of the Dublin, Ohio-based company.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen, and six children.

AT&T, then known as SBC Communications, acquired Sterling near the peak of the Internet bubble for $3.9 billion -- a price tag driven by forecasts that all "business to business" commerce would soon be conducted through online marketplaces not unlike a stock exchange, with demand dictating prices more efficiently.