29 posts and columns on Ron Grant
Want to make money? Become a former AOL executive. The Web publisher paid out $28.4 million in cash and stock to four top executives it replaced last year. It will pay some of them millions more this year.
Little by little, AOL is offering investors more and more details about what the company will look like after it spins off from Time Warner. But the more AOL discloses, the less attractive the company looks. The newest problem: AOL’s steady flow of Google money is going away.
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.
According to an internal memo obtained by BoomTown, Joanna Shields, who came to AOL via its troubled acquisition of the Bebo social-networking site, will be returning to London to spend more time with her family and to “pursue entrepreneurial interests.” Until recently, People Networks has been the third leg of the Time Warner-owned online site’s businesses, which also include advertising and content. But under new CEO Tim Armstrong, who was one of the top sales execs at Google, AOL is largely abandoning its business-unit approach for a more functional and centralized structure.
This is is just too cute to pass up. Apparently, some staffers at AOL are using a teeny-weeny cartoon of new CEO Tim Armstrong as the icon on their instant messaging program. Since he got the job, the big version of Armstrong has been busy making the rounds, even though he does not officially start until April 7. He’s been talking up many current and former AOLers–many from its glory days–to learn as much as he can about what he needs to do to force the once-mighty online icon back to relevance.
First came the go-go hello email, and now new AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong will address all the troops tomorrow at 11 am EST and has chosen to do so from, of all places, AOL’s old center of power in Dulles, Virginia. Many at AOL hope that Armstrong will quickly and transparently lay out plans for a spin-out of the Time Warner online unit from the media conglomerate, where it has languished for years. And sources said Armstrong could further up the ante and help raise the layoff-weary morale by having some former AOL execs from its glory days as the top online player in person at the event.
BoomTown has a feeling the very friendly new AOL CEO and Chairman, Tim Armstrong, is not going to waste his time chasing down and threatening to drop-kick leakers into outerspace. At least I hope he has better things to do! Like, you know, turning around the troubled Time Warner online unit. So here is his first memo to AOL staffers, leaked to me. (Don’t go all Bartz on me, Tim, because it won’t work anyway!)