31 posts and columns on Platform-A
Tim Armstrong has a very long To Do list at AOL. But unless he can turn his sales problem around, none of the other stuff will matter very much.
AOL is about to cut ties to Time Warner, and CEO Tim Armstrong has been making his case to current and potential investors. Here’s one last pitch, delivered to the crowd at the annual UBS Media and Communications Conference in New York.
In the ongoing game of Internet exec musical chairs, Greg Coleman, 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.
What’s next for AOL? Reviving the “You’ve Got Mail!” motto? Or: “The Future. Now Available.”–set to music from “The Jetsons”? What about: “So easy to use, no wonder it’s #1!” Or maybe, it should just use a nice loooooooong busy signal as its calling card again? Well, it could happen, now that new CEO Tim Armstrong has fallen prey to the siren call of the AOL brand name, after years of seeing the company wander in the anything-but-the-AOL wilderness. Thus, he’s decided to try to welcome the prodigal brand back home, even as he prepares to spin it off in November from Time Warner. Uh-oh.
After officially announcing that AOL was going to be spun off yesterday, Tim Armstrong, the CEO of the Time Warner online unit, held an all-hands meeting for employees today. BoomTown reported the details of the new structure of AOL yesterday, which the former Google advertising exec discussed at the gathering. Here is a quick synopsis of the meeting, which included a focus on content, advertising and making AOL’s acquisitions work better via a new ventures unit. Also, a dash of Googleyness.
AOL Spinoff Approved Last Night by Time Warner Board: Here Are the Inside Details (Not in the Press Release)While there were reports that the Time Warner board was meeting today to approve the spin-off of its AOL online unit, it actually gave the move an “enthusiastic endorsement” last night, according to sources. Time Warner just put out the press release about the move that would make AOL an “independent, publicly traded company.” But, several sources with knowledge of the situation said AOL CEO and Chairman Tim Armstrong is set to make massive changes to the structure of AOL, sweeping aside its current set-up almost completely. That includes keeping the access business, which many thought would be sold off and putting many of the companies it has recently acquired–including its pricey Bebo social networking site–in a separate ventures unit, which will try to attract outside investment.
Platform-A President Greg Coleman–the former Yahoo advertising sales exec who came to AOL only three months ago–is leaving the company, sources said, as new CEO Tim Armstrong remakes his top staff in preparation to spin off the Time Warner online unit. Coleman was brought to AOL by former CEO Randy Falco in February, replacing Lynda Clarizio, and will be replaced by a Google ad exec, Jeff Levick. Armstrong, sources said, announced the moves to his staff tonight, right after he told Coleman about his decision late today. Also out: CFO Nisha Kumar, who came to AOL in early 2007 from Time Warner, owner of the online unit.
More moving of the chairs at AOL’s Platform-A. The Time Warner online unit will announce today that Mark Ellis has been promoted to EVP of sales at the advertising division. He will lead Platform-A’s digital ad sales, sources said, including premium efforts at AOL’s MediaGlow content unit and for its third-party ad network. It is all part of extensive management reorganization being done by Platform-A President Greg Coleman, as new CEO and Chairman Tim Armstrong started yesterday in his new job of reviving AOL.