AOL Restructures Senior Management Team

Eliminating the positions of chief operating officer and president, America Online is making sweeping changes in its senior management structure as the Dulles, Va.-based division of AOL Time Warner continues it efforts to revitalize its Internet service. As part of the restructuring, AOL Chairman and CEO Jon Miller, the former USA Interactive executive who took over the company’s struggling division in August, will take a more direct role overseeing key units including the flagship AOL brand, interactive marketing and AOL broadband.

J. Michael Kelly, currently AOL’s chief operating officer, is moving to chairman and CEO of AOL International, assuming responsibility for the company’s AOL Anywhere products and services. Ray Oglethorpe, currently serving as president of AOL, will retire after a transition period in which he will be a senior advisor to the company.

In other management moves, Joseph Ripp, currently executive vice president and chief financial officer, will become vice chairman and directly oversee other corporate and operating functions, including AOL’s network infrastructure and technology operations while vice chairman Ted Leonsis will chair newly created councils overseeing brand, product, and technology strategy.

AOL is commencing a search for a new CFO to fill the position that Ripp is relinquishing, and has begun a search to fill the open position of executive vice president, human resources. Both positions will report to Ripp, who will continue to serve as CFO on an interim basis until his replacement has been appointed. Miller noted that in recent weeks, Oglethorpe had notified the company that he intended to make a transition to retirement, after serving the company as a senior advisor.

James de Castro, president of AOL Interactive Services, and the executive who oversees the flagship AOL service with its 35 million subscribers worldwide, will join Ripp and Leonsis in a newly created senior strategy group working with Miller and Don Logan, chairman of AOL Time Warner’s Media and Communications Group, to set corporate goals and formulate strategies.

“America Online is a crucial driver of AOL Time Warner’s long-term growth. The announcements being made today will clarify roles and lead to AOL’s being more nimble, its operating units more accountable, and its organization simplified and clearer,” said Logan.

Miller was named chairman and CEO of AOL on Aug. 6. The management changes result from a previously announced process to consult with AOL’s senior team and develop a management structure designed to address the challenges of static online membership growth and slumping advertising revenues.

“Under our new management structure, I will be directly engaged in several of the company’s most important areas, including our flagship brand, interactive marketing and AOL broadband. AOL must maintain its leadership position among dial-up subscribers, enhance our broadband business, and reinvigorate our relationship with marketers,” said Miller.

In addition to de Castro, Kelly, Leonsis, and Ripp, other senior executives reporting directly to Miller in the new organization will include Randall J. Boe, executive vice president and general counsel; John Buckley, executive vice president, corporate communications; Lisa Hook, president, AOL broadband; Joseph Redling, president, brand marketing; and Robert Sherman, president, interactive marketing.

The company also announced Jan Brandt, vice chair and chief marketing officer, will step down from her current position and take on a new part-time role as a senior advisor to the company.

“Putting this new structure in place will lead to greater stability at AOL,” Miller said, who added that “AOL will put increasing resources behind the development of a compelling, differentiated broadband product that will set the standard for high-speed as it increasingly penetrates the mass market.”

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