In the topsy-turvy world of online media companies, where Net startups often see more turnovers than your average Knicks game, CompuServe’s Audrey Weil is the kind of agile, all-around player that any team would covet. An 11-year veteran of CompuServe parent America Online Inc., Weil, 39, had joined CompuServe as COO in May of last year from the post of senior vice president of brand marketing at AOL. She was subsequently named general manager of CompuServe last month.
How does Weil keep on top of her game without burning out? “I’ve had the opportunity to do a different job every year,” she says. “The neat thing is, I’ve been able to try lots of different things at AOL.”
While Weil played a prime role in AOL’s success over the last decade, she’s now in the perhaps unenviable position of having to resurrect former market leader CompuServe, which was acquired by AOL in 1998 and relaunched in February. But Weil feels it is time for CompuServe to be a prominent online service once again. “CompuServe is really like a phoenix rising from the ashes,” she explained.
CompuServe’s comeback effort includes a jazzed up CompuServe 2000 service featuring higher speed connections, an easier interface and an inexpensive $9.95 a month base rate aimed at Net newbies. “We’re remaking the brand to take over a spot that no one is really sitting in right now,” she explains.
Weil’s move to CompuServe required transplanting her family, including two children and husband Ken Weil, who is now vice president of Internet new media for Victoria’s Secret, to Columbus, Ohio, where CompuServe is based.
Not content with simply moving in, Weil has immersed herself in the community, becoming a member of the mayor’s task force on technology, which promotes high-tech industry in Columbus.
“I’m not sure CompuServe was that committed to the community,” she says of its days as a unit of H&R Block. “One of the things we wanted to do was to recommit ourselves to being a vibrant and active part of the community and to help Columbus take itself to the next level in terms of technology.”
If Weil moves again, it looks as though she’ll only pack her bags for another Net opportunity. “It sounds a little hokey, but there’s not another place I would’ve rather been than the Internet industry. It’s really changing the way people live and the way people conduct their business.”