Tuesday, December 19, 2006

AOL Re-Org Unveiled: Six Business Units Will Report To COO Ron Grant

  • Posted by Staci D. Kramer

    via www.paidcontent.org
  • Mon 18 Dec 2006 05:27 PM PST
I’m sure this will spread fast but you probably are reading it here first ... As we reported Friday, AOL Chairman and CEO Randy Falco is unveiling the Time Warner unit’s new structure today. From the Falco memo that just went out to AOL employees:

“I want to focus first on the functional areas that I will have reporting to me. I will have eight direct reports, beginning with Ted Leonsis, our Vice Chairman, and of course Ron (Grant) as COO. Steve Swad, Finance; Ira Parker, Legal; Lance Miyamoto, Human Resources; and Tiane Mitchell Gordon, Diversity and Inclusion will all report to me. Additionally, reporting to me will be Tricia Primrose Wallace, who will step up to become head of Corporate Communications. ... In addition, we will be appointing a Chief Marketing Officer to help us manage the AOL brand and oversee the company’s consumer marketing efforts.

Reporting to Ron will be our business units: Products, Programming, Platforms, AOL Media Networks, Paid Services, and International. And because smoothly integrating our technology resources into the business units has been such a priority, Ron also will have the Chief Technology Officer report to him.”

The structure, which I was told last week would be logical, is just that. The old AOL had a lot of criss-crossing wires; this version—at least on the proverbial paper—appears to be more clear cut. The business unit heads (the memo doesn’t include titles for these posts.):

-- Products: Kevin Conroy. “In addition to driving continued improvements in mail, the client, portals, video and video search, storage, and our safety and security products, Kevin’s group will now oversee our AIM and mobile products. Kevin’s group will also include the technology resources recently assigned these product areas.”

-- Programming: Bill Wilson, as expected. “ Bill will focus on improving our existing programming experiences while developing new ones, either internally or through partnerships on the model of TMZ and Lat34.”

-- Platforms: TBD. Search, commerce, local-based services including MapQuest. “We are currently in discussions with possible candidates for this role and hope to make an announcement soon.”

-- AOL Media Networks: Mike Kelly. I wasn’t sure this would work out this way given Falco’s advertising backbround and the usual new-exec temptation to bring in someone familiar. “Mike Kelly continues in his role as head of AMN, which includes advertising sales, client solutions and Advertising.com. Mike has done an outstanding job rebuilding and re-energizing AOL’s ad sales, and the results—46% growth in Q3, for example—bear this out.”

-- Paid Services: Kim Partoll. “Even with our shift to an advertising business model, managing our relationship with our millions of subscribers, as well as offering them new services, remains an important element of our strategy.”

-- International: TBD. Perhaps the most gaping strategic hole. “We already have strong portals in the UK, France and Germany, and just launched portals in Austria and the Netherlands. We are also looking to launch our India portal soon and are pursuing other opportunities in Asia, South America, and so on. We will be announcing a new leader for International in the near future.”

Not a business unit but new CTO Balan Nair also will report to Grant; Nair, a recent hire, was chief information officer.

The memo makes official what we’ve already reported: the departures of Jim Bankoff, Randy Boe, John Buckley and Joe Redling. John McKinley is included in the group but he had already announced plans to leave.

-- Falco acknowledges the most recent re-org by former Chairman and CEO Jon Mille. Falco: “I believe that there were many important and correct decisions made regarding the structure of the organization as announced by Jon Miller earlier this fall. At the same time, having reviewed the structure, Ron and I believe that it can be tighter, clearer, and better focused on operations. It’s our desire to instill greater focus on execution.”


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