IQ News: bits

-America Online, Dulles, Va., reorganized to integrate the operations of newly acquired Netscape Communications, Mountain View, Calif. Jim Barksdale, former Netscape president and CEO, joins AOL’s board of directors, while co-founder Marc Andreessen was named AOL’s CTO. Four divisions were created: Interactive Services will handle the company’s interactive products, led by president Barry Schuler; Ted Leonsis will serve as president of Interactive Properties, overseeing ICQ, Digital City, MovieFone and all direct marketing services; Barry Ariko and Steve Savignano were appointed senior vps of Netscape Enterprise, which will focus on AOL’s strategic e-commerce alliance with Sun Microsystems; and AOL International, the unit that manages AOL and CompuServe overseas, will have Jack Davies serving as president. AOL last week confirmed it was laying off approximately 1,000 employees due to the restructuring.

-APL Digital, the interactive division of New York’s Ammirati Puris Lintas, saw a mass exodus of executives following president Brian Cauley’s departure less than two weeks ago. Sources said the group of former APL staffers may be starting an independent interactive shop. The recent departees include Evan Lewis, co-founder and co-creative director; Grant Collier, co-creative director; Mark Avnet, director of production and technology; media director Lynn Bolger; executive producer Vicky Evans and management supervisor Dawn Winchester. Rob Quish, multinational client director at APL, is overseeing operations until a replacement is found. Quish runs Ammirati’s $150 million Iridium telecommunications account, which also utilizes APL Digital’s services.

-The Interpublic Group of Companies, New York, made a $20 million capital investment in Icon Medialab International AB, Stockholm. IPG will designate Icon as a “preferred provider” of interactive services to IPG’s companies. As a first step, Thunder House, the interactive division of IPG’s JBR-McCann agency in Oslo, will merge with Icon Medialab Norway, creating an 80-person Internet consultancy. The agreement is subject to approval by Icon Medialab shareholders.