Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

More Reorging for AOL's Ad Unit, Platform-A: The Latest Memo


The undoing of previous management of AOL continues at the Time Warner (TWX) online unit with even more reorganization of its Platform-A advertising unit.

Sources said the changes are part of a simplifying of the division, one of three at AOL (the others are communications and content).

Platform-A head Greg Coleman, who used to run ad sales at Yahoo (YHOO) and should know from reorgs, had already done some rejiggering in late February after he arrived.

Coleman–who was hired by former CEO Randy Falco, but will be staying anyway under new head Tim Armstrong–penned a memo about the changes, which went out to staff this morning and is below in its entirety.

Headline: Execs moving in and out of musical chairs and fewer cooks in the kitchen, or “more people on the street selling.”

Here’s the entire memo, after the jump:

To: Platform-A US employees

From: Greg Coleman

Subject line: Organizational announcement

Dear Platform-A colleagues,

At our last All Hands meeting we discussed the need to move quickly to position Platform-A to grow revenues and gain share in today’s tough market. We talked about how we are putting together a plan of action that we can implement quickly, and how we need to move aggressively to better align our sales force, and get more people on the street selling.

Today, we’re announcing the first steps we’re taking to implement this plan.

First, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve named Chris Maccaro VP New York, where he will lead an expanded regional sales team in our largest market. Chris has worked in a variety of roles in his six years at AOL, most recently as VP Property Sales. Prior to that, he was a Regional Sales Director in New York. Chris will be announcing his leadership team and sales structure over the next few weeks. The New York, Boston and Mid-Atlantic offices will report into Mark Ellis on an interim basis. Also, our Toronto office will now report into Rick Simmons and become part of the Midwest Region.

As a part of this realignment, Brent Spitzer will be leaving the company. Brent has made many tremendous contributions to our organization over the past nine years. Please join me in thanking him for everything he’s done for Platform-A and wishing him all the best on his next endeavor.

Next, we will be disbanding of the Property and Category sales teams and realigning many of the talented individuals from those teams into regional sales and other parts of the organization. Both teams were instrumental in providing vertical focus and sales pressure over the past year, but there is a more urgent need now to drive direct advertiser demand and relationships. Our Homepage and Multicultural teams will remain intact and will report to Ron Bernstein.

The Product Sales team will continue to report to Julie Greenhouse but will move under Don Kennedy, as will Ben Trenda who runs Agency Partnerships and Global Alliances. Don will also create a small team of sales specialists who will focus exclusively on driving network revenue through the regional sales teams. Don will be working to build his team and will announce details of his organization in the next few weeks.

We all recognize the need to drive world class customer solutions more effectively and efficiently. To that end, we are creating a new Marketing Solutions organization, which will combine the current Strategy, Marketing and Property Sales Development teams. This new organization will focus on the needs of sales and the customer, and will harness the assets of MediaGlow, the Advertising.com network and our other best-of-breed products. We’re beginning a search for a strong leader to run the Marketing Solutions organization. We are also beginning a search for a highly credentialed Research Director to support sales. In the interim, Doug Boccia, Aleck Schleider and Blake Pierson will report to Mark Ellis. Anne Hunter and her ADlytics team will now report into Peter Ban and the Business Intelligence organization.

We are not planning any near-term structural changes in our Account Management organization. This team is critical to our success in scaling revenue, and it has risen to the occasion throughout the integration of Platform-A and our migration to ADTECH.

I realize that these are widespread changes, but they are necessary for us to succeed. There will be a transition period of several weeks where we will provide more structural clarity and displaced individuals will be able to interview for open positions.

I can’t tell you how encouraged and excited I am about the progress we are making and what we’re going to accomplish at Platform-A. These changes are the first steps in moving forward to build a world-class sales organization.


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