Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Google Names Company Veteran Dennis Woodside to Replace Tim Armstrong as Ad Lead

That was fast.

Longtime–well, five years, which is a dog’s age at the search giant–Google sales exec Dennis Woodside (pictured here) will become VP, Americas Operations, replacing outgoing exec Tim Armstrong, who was named chairman and CEO of Time Warner (TWX) online unit AOL last week.

Woodside, 40, will start in the next few weeks, said Google (GOOG) in an internal communication about the appointment, as Armstrong transitions from Google to AOL. It is the key advertising sales job at Google.

Armstrong has already been hard at work at AOL, in fact, leading an employee rally today at its former HQ in Dulles, Viriginia, which included former AOL execs Steve Case and Ted Leonsis.

(And he will hold a similar meeting at AOL’s New York office tomorrow, BoomTown has been told. But let’s hope he does not roll out, say, former Time Warner CEO Jerry Levin, which would be taking this old-home-week stuff too far!)

While Woodside is a well-known exec within Google, his name was not as prominent in the speculation about which internal Googler would be named by CEO Eric Schmidt to replace the well-known Armstrong.

Wrote MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka last week, for example, when the Armstrong departure was announced:

“According to a (very informal) flash poll of Googlers, ex-Googlers and Google competitors I conducted last night, the answer should be obvious: David Rosenblatt, the former Doubleclick CEO, who now runs Google’s display business.”

Woodside will also have a slightly lesser title than Armstrong, who was a corporate SVP, was president of the America Operations and was also on Google’s powerful operating committee.

But that’s part of the changes, mentioned in a long statement by even bigger sales boss Omid Kordestani, SVP, Global Sales & Business Development, to whom Woodside will report (the key graph is the last one, although the golf dig is funny):

In the five and a half years that Dennis has been at Google (that’s over half our company’s lifetime) he’s brought incredible integrity and entrepreneurialism to everything he’s done. I remember Dennis setting off from Mountain View in 2005, a year and a half after he joined, to start our direct sales operations in Eastern Europe, which he quickly transformed into a substantial part of our business. He also set up our Inside Sales Operations in Dublin – again building it from scratch. In September 2006, he became our Vice President for the UK, Ireland and Benelux where he’s helped to create a first class team as well as establish very positive relationships with our big partners on both the advertiser and agency side, including 02, Marks & Spencer, Amazon and Omnicom.

Ever since I met Dennis in 2003, I have been impressed by his combination of entrepreneurialism and operational excellence. He’s never afraid to try new things and always ready to roll up his sleeves and pitch in–whether it means moving his desk to sit with the UK DSO team to see the operations first hand, or being the customers’ advocate internally to help product and engineering better understand market trends. Outside work he loves to do triathlons–though I would only recommend training with him if you don’t mind being out-run (if you are looking to beat him, try golf).

While we are all sorry to see Tim move on, change always brings new opportunities. We believe it’s now time not just to roll-out globally the best practices from the different regional sales teams–the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific–but also to tailor our business strategies more closely to the different situations we face in different countries (more mature versus less mature markets).

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— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo