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AOL's Lynton Gets More International Clout

For his success in making AOL a household word in such places as China and Argentina, executives promoted the international Internet service provider (ISP) chief to manage the entire AOL Time Warner empire overseas, officials announced Thursday.

Michael Lynton, former Harvard Business School graduate, will manage the overseas efforts of one of the largest companies in the world as AOL Time Warner's executive vice president and International president.

He will continue to manage the international ISP branch of AOL Time Warner, in addition to his mandate to integrate all the various media holdings and alliances the company holds.

Dick Parsons, AOL Time Warner king-in-waiting (a.k.a. chief executive officer-elect), said Lynton's success so far with the AOL brand makes him the logical choice to manage all international efforts.

"Michael Lynton has done a terrific job overseeing the international expansion of our AOL brand," he said. "He is the perfect choice to lead our combined international efforts and enable our division to more easily coordinate with one another to maximize our results."

Like the United Kingdom of yore, the sun never sets on the AOL Time Warner empire, and its international operations are in fact one of the few areas not under the gun at the financially- and strategically-mired mega-media company.

The fact that AOL is the number one ISP in the world has a lot to do with Lynton's efforts to get dial-up Internet access to some far-flung areas of the world, from Central and South America to Japan to Europe. The AOL international customers overseas make up a good portion of the more than 34 million AOL users to date, to the tune of roughly 8.5 million subscribers.

Lynton "sealed the deal" on his promotion with his efforts to get AOL in China, a country notorious for its foreign business-ownership laws. Forming a joint venture with a Chinese PC maker, AOL Time Warner has been offering Internet service there since last year.

Before joining AOL, Lynton was chairman and chief executive officer of Pearson plc. Penguin Group, the second-largest English-language publisher in the world. Before that, he served as president of Hollywood Pictures and Disney Publishing for the Walt Disney Co.