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AOL Strengthens Content Team

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NEW YORK America Online has appointed two media veterans to newly created posts as a part of its strategy to strengthen its content and programming.

The Internet unit of AOL Time Warner has hired Malcolm Bird as senior vice president and general manager of AOL Kids and Tina Sharkey as svp of lifestyle and community programming. Both will report to Jim Bankoff, evp, operations, AOL Interactive Services. Bird will be assigned to AOL's Dulles, Va., headquarters and Sharkey will be based in New York.

Bird,35, will lead the development of a new online experience for kids, tailored to their interests and activities. Sharkey, 38, will focus on online areas, including personal finance, health, women and home. She will also develop content such as polls, homepages, message boards, groups and chats that engage AOL members throughout the service.

Bird has more than 15 years of experience as a TV and radio producer and a programmer of children's content. He played key roles in launches of three networks--Nickelodeon UK, TeleMonticarlo in Italy and Miami USA. Most recently, he was a producer of the series Operation Junkyard for Discovery Kids.

Sharkey was most recently a principal at Majestic Partners, a New York-based media and technology consulting firm, where she advised clients like The New York Times Digital and Cisneros Television Group. Prior to that, Sharkey, who has 15 years of media experience, was group president of Sesame Workshop's Online Services from 1997-1999. She was also co-founder of iVillage, where she served as svp of programming and chief community architect.

AOL has 18,000 employees worldwide.