Kara Swisher

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AOL Names Jim Norton as New Head of Sales

AOL, which has had some turmoil in its executive ranks of late, has promoted Jim Norton to be its new head of sales.

The New York Internet company said Norton would be “responsible for sales on all of AOL’s owned & operated properties, including sites like The Huffington Post, Engadget, Stylelist and MapQuest,” as well as a range of other areas.

AOL has rejiggered its advertising execs and strategies several times in recent years, and Norton is not precisely replacing its former advertising head Jeff Levick (who left for Spotify) and is more akin to another top former AOL ad exec Mark Ellis (who left for Yahoo).

That job has now been folded into the portfolio of Chief Revenue Officer Ned Brody, to whom Norton will report.

“We need to become faster in our operations,” said Brody in an interview this morning about the shift. “We brought in Jim to bring in singular focus on selling.”

Brody said that AOL is working on how to increase the “value proposition” of its variety of advertising and marketing offerings and to quicken the process.

Norton came to AOL from Google in 2009 and before that worked in a wide range of ad jobs.

Here’s the official press release on the move:


New York, NY — December 9, 2011 — AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) and Ned Brody, Chief Revenue Officer, today announced the promotion of Jim Norton to head of AOL Sales. Effective today, Jim will be responsible for sales on all of AOL’s owned & operated properties, including sites like The Huffington Post, Engadget, Stylelist and MapQuest. Additionally, he will also lead the sales of all cross platform marketing solutions, including display/Project Devil initiative, video and mobile. This announcement is reflective of AOL’s commitment to putting the strongest leaders in place to service clients in the most efficient and effective manner. Jim will continue to report to Brody.

“Jim has proven himself within AOL to be a fantastic leader,” said Brody. “He not only has deep knowledge and incredible expertise in the marketplace, but a real ability to effect change.” Brody added, “Customers want the best products and packaged solutions all in a fast and efficient manner. Consolidation of leadership under Jim will place even more focus on putting our clients front and center and deliver on their goals and needs.”

“It’s a tremendous honor and opportunity to take on this new leadership role,” said Norton. “It allows me to continue to work with some of the best sales professionals in the business. It’s also a privilege to work with some of the world’s biggest brands.” He added, “We want to continue to be the preferred media partner for marketers and agencies.”

Jim joined AOL in 2009 and was SVP, AOL Advertising’s Advance Sales team, which focuses on national and regional advertisers across all categories, as well as new business. He was also VP of Product Sales working with AOL product teams on maximizing their offerings to advertisers, including MapQuest, Patch, AOL Mail, AOL Video and Mobile. He also managed AOL’s Search and Sponsored Listings business, and helped launch and manage AOL’s self service advertising platform, Ad Desk.

Jim has over 20 years of experience in the media business. Prior to joining AOL, he spent 3 years at Google most recently as National Sales Manager for Google’s Agency Activation team. Prior to that role, he was a Senior Account Executive on the National Tech B2B team servicing many of the leading global tech marketers. He’s also held a number of traditional sales and marketing roles, including four years as Sales Manager at Tribune Broadcasting’s WLVI-TV (Boston’s WB), radio ad sales at Kiss 108FM and a variety of brand marketing roles at Miller Brewing Company and GMR Marketing. He’s a life long Bostonian and graduated from Boston College with a BA in Communications and BC’s Carroll Graduate School of Business with an MBA in Marketing and Technology. He’s married with three children and splits his time between Boston and New York City.

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