AOL is once again shaking up its sales hierarchy. It looks as though the company is trying to put some distance between its premium properties (like the Huffington Post) and its more commoditized businesses (like Advertising.com).
These changes include:
- Less than a year after Ned Brody was brought over from Advertising.com to become AOL's chief revenue officer following the departure of sales chief Jeff Levick, Brody is moving back to Ad.com as CEO. However, CEO Tim Armstrong told Adweek that Brody's new job is a far bigger role than this old one. "Ned's not going back to Ad.com. That's now a much different looking beast. We've put about half a billion into Ad.com over the past few years. It's gone from the worst performing area of our business to the best perfoming. We've really become a very significant provider of publisher services. We've built a technology stack for publishers that is probably the second largest in the busines compared to Google, and that's what Ned is running."
- Janet Balis, who last October was named head of sales strategy, marketing and partnerships for AOL Advertising, is now publisher of the Huffington Post Media Group. That move comes just a few weeks after AOL announced lackluster earnings numbers. It would appear that either Balis is taking some blame for that performance or that the Huffington Post is building out its own sales organization. Explained Armstrong: "Janet is really like a COO or a publisher for HuffPo. She'll serve as a thought leader, which was a gap we had. She reports directly to Arianna and will help develop ad products for HuffPo in a real specialty role."
- Moritz Loew, longtime MSNBC interactive sales exec (most recently the company's chief agency officer) has been named head of sales specialist and svp for the Huffington Post. Said Armstrong: "AOL's sales teams still sell HuffPo inventory. But Moritz is going to head up a specialty sales force. That brand really requires it. He'll also report directly to Arianna."
- Jim Norton, who in December was promoted to head of AOL sales, will remain in that role but will now report directly to CEO Tim Armstrong and will also serve on a new executive committee. According to an AOL press release, Norton will focus on Ad.com and AOL's owned-and-operated properties. "Jim's role is really as a global sales director for advertising. He'll oversee all teams for the top brands, our owned and operated properties. Strategy-wise, we’re kind of transitioning AOL into become a true brand company and we want to put fuel into our biggest brands."