AOL Reshuffles Advertising Executives

Published May 23, 2012

| Reuters

AOL Inc is reorganizing its advertising division again, hoping to ignite growth with one of its major initiatives, big splashy ad formats.

The company said on Wednesday that Ned Brody, formerly chief revenue officer, will become CEO of the company's advertising network, Advertising.com Group.

Jim Norton, senior vice president of AOL advertising, will become part of the executive committee reporting directly to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. He will retain his title.

"The goal of these announcements is to fuel our ability to serve more advertisers and publishers with more targeted products and services," Armstrong wrote in a memo to employees that was obtained by Reuters.

This is the second time AOL has reshuffled ad executives since its head of sales Jeff Levick left last summer.

Armstrong said there will be more organizational changes to the structure around specific brands.

AOL said advertising is the cornerstone of its turnaround strategy as it reduces its dependence on lucrative dial-up subscription dollars.

But the company's attempt to dominate premium display advertising -- large ad formats that appear on web pages and command a higher price -- has stumbled of late.

During the first quarter, the company said while overall ad revenue rose 5 percent, boosted mainly by a 23 percent rise in revenue at Advertising.com, U.S. display ad sales fell.

Advertising.com is a platform used by advertisers and publishers to quickly buy and sell ads. The cost to place an ad through a network is generally much cheaper then going to the publisher directly. It is the part of AOL's business that is growing the fastest.

Armstrong said AOL expects display ad revenue to increase during the second half of the year.

AOL also announced that Janet Balis, formerly senior vice president and head of sales strategy, marketing and partnerships at AOL, was named publisher of its Huffington Post Media Group. (Reporting By Jennifer Saba; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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