Other items: Tech group expands telecom via merger; Nike Chairman selling 8 percent of his stock; Microsoft may introduce anti-virus program this year ...

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Former Citicorp CEO Walter Wriston will leave the Icos board after 15 years as a director, the Bothell biotechnology company said yesterday. The announcement came days after another prominent Icos director, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, said he would step down from the board.

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Icos said Wriston informed Chairman and CEO Paul Clark on Thursday that he wants “to devote his attention to his family and other interests and his decision does not relate to any disagreement with Icos.” Wriston’s term expires later this year.

The Icos board won’t lack for business heavyweights, though. The company last year added former Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Robert Herbold (effective in March); former Eli Lilly CEO Vaughn Bryson; and former Abbott Laboratories Chief Operating Officer Jack Schuler.

Other directors include Frank Cary, former chairman and CEO of IBM; and James Ferguson, former chairman and CEO of General Foods.


Tech group expands telecom via merger

The WSA, a technology trade group based in Seattle, announced it has merged with a nonprofit telecommunications trade association called TCA Northwest. With the merger, WSA said it plans to extend its reach further into the telecom sector and increase the depth of its public policy and regulatory positions affecting the telecom and wireless industries.


Chairman selling 8 percent of his stock

Nike, the world’s largest athletic-shoe maker, said co-founder and Chairman Phil Knight prepared to sell more than $500 million in stock, about 8 percent of his holdings, for estate-planning and philanthropic purposes.

Assuming he sells the 5.7 million shares, Knight would still own 25 percent of Nike’s outstanding common stock, the Beaverton, Ore.-based company said yesterday in a statement.


Anti-virus program coming this year?

Microsoft may introduce a program to protect computers from viruses as soon as February, said Adam Holt, an analyst at J.P. Morgan, in a note to clients.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates speaks at the RSA Security conference in San Francisco on Feb. 15, and the company may unveil the product and other details then, Holt said. He expects the program to be on sale in the third quarter.

The company plans to sell an anti-virus program, probably as a subscription service, to compete with Symantec and McAfee, the No. 1 and No. 2 providers of such software. Microsoft may bundle several protection programs into the service, Vice President Mike Nash said last week.

Most computer users don’t have up-to-date virus protection, which may present an opportunity for Microsoft to win new customers.

Amy Carroll, a senior director in Microsoft’s Security Business Unit, declined to comment on when Microsoft will unveil the product. She said the company’s plans aren’t complete.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and Bloomberg News