Former Yahoo and AOL Ad Exec Coleman Poised to Join the Huffington Post as President
In the ongoing game of Internet exec musical chairs, Greg Coleman (pictured here), who has been a top exec at both Yahoo and AOL, is poised to become president of the Huffington Post, as well as chief revenue officer, several sources said.
The deal for Coleman to come on board at the privately held online news site–which has grown significantly over the last year and just added well-known online media exec Eric Hippeau as CEO–came together only recently.
And it is not clear what the role of current Huffington Post Chief Revenue Officer James Smith will be going forward.
The Coleman hiring is most likely the work of Hippeau, who has known him from Coleman’s days as head of ad sales at Yahoo (YHOO). Hippeau has been on the board of the Internet giant for many years.
Hippeau was also a key player in the $5 million investment in the Huffington Post by SoftBank Capital in 2006.
He has also been a director on its small board, which also includes co-founders Arianna Huffington and Kenny Lerer, as well as Oak Investment Partners’ Fred Harman.
Oak recently added $25 million to the funding kitty at the Huffington Post, which is headquartered in New York.
The money will be used to expand the site into the local arena, investigative news, and verticals such as tech, a section set to debut Sept. 21.
It is all being done to build on what has been a strong traffic year for the Huffington Post, which claims it has over 21 million unique monthly visitors.
Nielsen Online has pegged that at the lower figure of 8.9 million, but reported that the Huffington Post was one of the fastest-growing, year-over-year news sites.
Despite that, the site still has not been regularly profitable, despite doubling annual revenue–mostly in advertising–to what some estimate to be about $8 million in 2009.
Presumably, goosing that revenue is what Coleman is being pegged to help do–and he certainly has a lot of online advertising experience, having made stops at a lot of Internet companies in the past few years.
He was head of advertising sales at Yahoo for seven years, after another long stint at Reader’s Digest. Yahoo’s ad business grew strongly under him.
But Coleman ran into Yahoo’s management buzzsaw after trouble hit the company in 2007. He was one of the first in a long line of execs to leave the troubled company, departing in one of its many controversial reorganizations.
He was soon running a Los Angeles-based start-up called NetSeer, which focuses on ad targeting.
He then headed to AOL in February to run its Platform-A division.
But when new management was suddenly put in place by Time Warner (TWX) in the spring, Coleman left after only a few months on the job.
After taking the summer off, several sources said, he has recently been looking at a variety of jobs.
That included MySpace, where former Yahoo colleague Wenda Harris Millard–now with Media Link–was hired recently as an outside consultant to help the News Corp. (NWS) social networking site rejigger its ad business.
The Huffington Post spokesman declined to comment when BoomTown inquired about Coleman’s hiring.