Can Google’s Senior Vice President and chief of ad sales turn AOL around and into the mega powerhouse that Time Warner has always dreamed the content network will become? If anyone can, changes are Tim Armstrong, who was picked away from Google today to head AOL as their new Chairman and CEO, has the best chance.
Armstrong has been with Google since 2000, and oversaw the development of their AdWords sales department while working with business and partnership development. Google, being part owner of AOL and an advertising partner, and AOL’s Time Warner parent have been on shaky terms lately, with rumors of Yahoo interest in AOL and its Platform-A advertising network (which AOL claims is the largest in the United States). So Armstrong is becoming the CEO of AOL at a very interesting time.
Casting the Google-Yahoo-AOL-Microsoft soap opera aside, AOL has its own impressive selection of technolgies and interwebs;
- the social network Truveo
- Yedda Semantic Search
- & Quigo all being part of AOL.
I for one would love to see Armstong take AOL out from Google’s shadow and position the company as its own search and content resource, strong in multimedia and proprietary relevance.
Oh, by the way, this is not the first time AOL has recruited a Google executive to run operations. Last year AOL hired former Google UK Managing Director Kate Burns to head Bebo Europe.
More on AOL and Armstrong from a Time Warner Press Release :
- Tim Armstrong, Google Senior Vice President, has been named Chairman and CEO of AOL, LLC, Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes announced today. Current AOL Chairman and CEO Randy Falco and President and COO Ron Grant plan to leave the company after a transition period.
In making the announcement Mr. Bewkes said: “Tim is the right executive to move AOL into the next phase of its evolution. At Google, Armstrong helped build one of the most successful media teams in the history of the Internet–helping to make Google the most popular online search advertising platform in the world for direct and brand marketers. He’s an advertising pioneer with a stellar reputation and proven track record. We are privileged to have him preside over AOL as its audience and programming businesses continue to grow and its advertising platform expands globally. He’ll also be helpful in helping Time Warner determine the optimal structure for AOL.”
Tim Armstrong said: “I’m very excited about the opportunities presented in leading AOL. AOL has a wide-ranging set of assets and audience. The company is well positioned to enhance those assets into a larger share of the Internet audience and advertiser communities. AOL and Google have been partners for years and I look forward to collaborating with Jeff Bewkes and his team as we explore the right structure and future for AOL.”
Mr. Bewkes added: “Randy led AOL in its transition from a subscription business to an audience business. Under Randy and Ron, AOL’s programming sites exhibited year-over-year growth in unique visitors for 23 consecutive months with many of its sites now in the top five of their categories. They also assembled Platform-A, the number one display ad network in the U.S. with a reach of more than 90%. They also aggressively cut costs as they restructured the Audience business portion of the company into three distinct operating units: People Networks, MediaGlow, and Platform-A. As Randy and Ron move on, they leave AOL with our gratitude and appreciation for remaking the company and bringing it to a new and promising level.”
Tim Armstrong was a member of Google’s Operating Committee and served as the president of the Americas Operations. Under the Americas Operations, Armstrong’s team managed publishers and advertisers’ relationships and platforms with some of the world’s most widely recognized media and agency brands. Armstrong started at Google in the year 2000 and opened the first office outside of the Mountain View, CA headquarters.
Mr. Armstrong joined Google from Snowball.com, where he was vice president of sales and strategic partnerships. Prior to his role at Snowball.com, he served as director of integrated sales & marketing at Starwave’s and Disney’s ABC/ESPN Internet Ventures, working across the companies’ Internet, TV, radio, and print properties. He started his career by co-founding and running a newspaper based in Boston, MA, before joining IDG to launch their first consumer Internet magazine, I-Way.
Mr. Armstrong sits on the boards of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Advertising Council, and the Advertising Research Foundation, and is a trustee at Connecticut College and Lawrence Academy. He is a member of Mayor Bloomberg’s MediaNYC 2020 committee. He is a graduate of Connecticut College, with a double major in economics and sociology.