AOL Picks Ex-Googler to Take the Helm
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AOL CEO Tim Armstrong
Time Warner on Thursday announced Google executive Tim Armstrong will be the new chairman and CEO of AOL. Armstrong comes to AOL from Google, where he was senior vice president of its Americas operations and is best known for helping to build Google's online advertising business.
Armstrong's name was on the short list of candidates for the top job at Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) after former CEO Jerry Yang stepped down and a search for a new chief executive was launched. Eventually former Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz was selected.
Either way, Armstrong would have had his worked cut out for him at Yahoo and will face no less a challenge at AOL. Time Warner is looking at what to do with AOL, including possibly spinning it off as a separate company. The two merged in 2000.
It was also revealed that AOL's former CEO Randy Falco and former CFO Ron Grant will both leave the company after a transition period. Falco and Grant were appointed in November, 2006.
"Tim is the right executive to move AOL into the next phase of its evolution," said Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes in a statement. "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."
Time Warner has been trying to determine what best to do with AOL, which has seen its fortunes shrink in recent years along with its dial-up Internet business. A spin-off is just one of the rumors along with talk of a merger with Yahoo.
Armstrong joined Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) in 2000, where he was a member of Google's Operating Committee and served as the president of the Americas operations, where he developed Google's online advertising business.
Prior to that, he was with Snowball.com as vice president of sales and strategic partnerships. Snowball.com eventually became IGN.com, now part of Fox Interactive Media.