Kara Swisher

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No Room at the Top: HuffPo Publisher Janet Balis to Leave Job in May

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According to a memo AllThingsD.com has obtained, Huffington Post Media Group Publisher Janet Balis will depart her job in the online content unit of AOL on May 3.

The memo went to staff last week, apparently, but it is not clear from it if she is staying at AOL or going elsewhere.

But, according to the memo, the recent hiring of Jimmy Maymann as CEO of the HuffPo division meant there was little room at the top for Balis.

“As HuffPost was being structured to become a stand-alone entity within AOL, and we brought in Jimmy Maymann as our CEO, it became increasingly clear that there were overlapping functions between his role and Janet Balis’ as Publisher,” read the memo.

A longtime AOL exec, Balis became publisher there almost a year ago. She also has worked at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Time Inc. and Newsweek.

In an interview with Adotas earlier this week, Balis showed no signs she was not there to stay:

“In terms of where we are headed as a brand at the Huffington Post, first and foremost, a big focus continues to be our expansion globally. We are now fortunate to be in France, Spain U.K., Italy, and Canada. We’re going to be continuing that expansion very aggressively in the coming months and it’s been a tremendously successful strategy.”

Though Balis’s move seems different, AOL has seen a lot of executive turmoil of late, including the departure of top ad exec Ned Brody.

Here’s the whole memo from HuffPo Chairwoman, President, and Editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington:

As HuffPost was being structured to become a stand-alone entity within AOL, and we brought in Jimmy Maymann as our CEO, it became increasingly clear that there were overlapping functions between his role and Janet Balis’ as Publisher. As a passionate and articulate advocate for our brand, Janet has done an incredible job developing HuffPost’s approach to the marketplace for consumers and advertisers. Now that she has achieved many key milestones in her role — including recruiting a very talented sales and marketing team, helping HuffPost Live launch with blue chip charter sponsors, and advancing our branded platform technology around causes and content — she will be leaving her role at the beginning of May. We look forward to working with her in the future.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work