Kara Swisher

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AOL Hires New Comms Head From Pepsi

P Land headshot

AOL has hired top PepsiCo PR exec Peter Land as its latest head of communications, the company said.

Land, who has been the No. 2 corporate communications exec at the beverage giant, will be leading internal and external messaging at AOL, but will not be in charge of marketing at the New York-based Internet portal. Previous to PepsiCo, he was marketing head for the Breeders’ Cup.

In an interview yesterday, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said that Land was the right candidate for the job, since the company has been focusing on its media properties as brands. That’s apparently in Land’s wheelhouse, coming from such a consumer marketing behemoth.

“We now have multiple messages for multiple brands, and are also needing to communicate about lifestyle, too,” said Armstrong. “As we are changing into a growth company, it is important that we have someone who can really talk both inside and outside about our portfolio of really strong brands.”

Armstrong did note that “it is not lost on me” that there has been a lot of churn in the PR organization at AOL, which has seen four different leaders in several years. But he said that Land has landed at a company ready for more substantive communications.

Land underscored that, noting, “I love where AOL is in its life cycle.”

In addition, he said that the company’s “world-class brands” needed to get more attention going forward.

He might have his hands full with more than that, though. AOL is now engaged in a bit of a tussle with rival Yahoo over its ad sales head Ned Brody, who has departed AOL and has reportedly been offered a similar job at the Silicon Valley giant.

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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo