AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Details Thursday’s Layoffs

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong sent an email to staffers detailing the much-reported layoffs taking place Thursday. The full email appears after the jump, but highlights follow:
• Affected employees will be notified by 3 p.m. ET Thursday, followed by an all-employee call at 5 p.m.
• Nearly 200 people in the media and tech groups in the United States will be affected, along with nearly 700 in India, with some 300 of the latter transitioning to outsourcing partners.
• Assistance programs will be made available to affected employees.
• The concept of towns and mayors is being scrapped. Department editor positions will be created for each editorial department, and their partners will be the general managers (formerly mayors), who will continue to serve as CEOs.
The memo:

AOLers
Today is the next critical step on the comeback trail for AOL. We are creating a next-generation, hyper-local, national and global media company, and every action we’ve taken since AOL became an independent company has taken us further down that path. Our strategy remains clear: Create high-quality content experiences for consumers, at scale. As the digital landscape quickly evolves, so must our business, and we must continue to transform our organizational structure to one that works for today’s Internet.
Today, we are announcing an organizational structure that will significantly improve AOL’s ability to focus on growth. The structure will also impact areas of our team — making the decision to reduce staff levels is a necessary part of rebalancing our work force to be competitive in our industry. Affected employees will be notified today, and AOL will offer assistance programs — including work space, counseling, and technology. We ask all of our employees to help impacted employees find career opportunities within our industry.
The structural changes at AOL are possible because of the progress we have made as a team in the past 12 months. The majority of our sites have materially improved their consumer experiences, our advertising business continues to get healthier and more innovative, our video position is strengthening every day, our local footprint is quickly expanding, we are attracting some of the most talented people in the world to work at AOL, and our technology infrastructure is simpler and more robust. AOL is a global brand and a global opportunity, and we are doing the hard work that will once again make the company an industry leader.
There are three important aspects to the structural changes we are making today. The first is the architecture of our brand portfolio. The second is the organizational design of The Huffington Post Media Group. The third is our shift from India being a business-process center to India being a consumer-products group focused on the APAC market.
New Structure: Investing in our Brand Portfolio
AOL’s brand portfolio has become more focused and stronger over the past year, and we will continue to invest in our brands. We are committed to an AOL brand architecture that empowers us to build best-in-class brands that serve valuable audiences with incredible content and great experiences. As you have seen and have access to, AOL’s brands are measured with a consistent set of criteria that will allow us to transparently judge the health of each brand. As we considered adding The Huffington Post, we looked at the combined assets of the two companies and have found creative ways to strengthen our portfolio and will continue the brand refinement process over time.
AOL will have four areas of significant brands: Media (Media & Ads – including Local), Publisher Networks (Media & Ads for Publishers), Applications (Communications, Mobile, Commerce), and Subscriptions (Paid Subscribers).


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.