Dev Bhatia is now CEO of

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Monday, 23 August 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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CALIF:, which enables leaseholders to opt out of auto leases by finding buyers to take over payments, said it named Dev Bhatia chief executive.

Bhatia replaces founder Michael Penfield, who remains on the board. Bhatia, who said Penfield stepped away voluntarily, joined one year ago as chief operations officer. He was previously CEO of HotSocket and vice president of brand management at Yoyodine.'s Instant LeaseRelease service launched this summer. It pays half of customer's negative equity, ending lease obligations. The company targets auto dealers as well as direct to consumers.

Founded in 1999, the Palm Desert, Calif.-based company has 12 employees and is hiring in sales and marketing. Bhatia anticipates 22 employees by the first quarter of 2005. has raised $6.6 million to date. The company is backed by Milestone Investments and individuals. No additional rounds are planned.

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