America Online Inc. on Thursday took the wraps off an executive management overhaul that has been rumored for weeks, with the result being an increased focus on providing broadband Internet services.
The Dulles, Va., company, a subsidiary of AOL-Time Warner Inc., announced the elimination of the president and chief operating officer positions and said newly appointed CEO Jon Miller will take a more direct role overseeing key business units such as the flagship AOL Brand, Interactive Marketing and AOL Broadband.
Miller has been given a mandate to set clearer priorities, increase accountability and clarify organizational roles, AOL officials said.
Current COO Michael Kelly has been appointed chairman and CEO of AOL International, reporting to Miller. Kelly also will be responsible for the companys AOL Anywhere products and services and will be a member of AOLs Senior Strategy Group.
Ray Oglethorpe, currently president of AOL, will retire after a transition period during which he will be a senior adviser to the company.
AOL also named Joseph Ripp, executive vice president and chief financial officer, as vice chairman. In this position, Ripp will directly oversee other corporate and operating functions, including the companys network infrastructure and technology operations.
Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis, meanwhile, will chair newly created councils overseeing brand, product and technology strategy, and James de Castro, president of AOL Interactive Services, the business unit that includes AOLs flagship consumer Internet service, will join Ripp and Leonsis in the newly created Senior Strategy Group working with Miller and Don Logan, chairman of AOL Time Warners Media and Communications Group, to set corporate goals and formulate strategies.
Jan Brandt, vice chair and chief marketing officer, who is credited with launching the companys aggressive direct mailing of free floppy disks and CD-ROMs that built its subscriber base, will step down from her current position and take on a part-time role as a senior adviser to the company.
AOL also announced that employees of the companys Business Affairs department will be reassigned to the business units they support.
Miller, who joined AOL Aug. 6, said in a statement that the new-look AOL needed to maintain its leadership position for dial-up Internet service and improve its broadband business and relationships with marketers. The company will in particular put more resources into building its broadband business, he said.
The shakeup means AOL will be hiring a new CFO and executive vice president of human resources.
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