RIP Oath: Division Renamed Verizon Media Group in Companywide Reorg

Verizon is dividing its operations into consumer, business and media segments

Verizon is rebranding Oath. Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Source: Getty Images
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Verizon is rethinking the name Oath.

The carrier announced a reorganization on Monday that will rebrand the division that merged AOL and Yahoo as Verizon Media Group/Oath, a move that could put to bed rumors that Verizon had planned to spin off the struggling content business.

In addition to the renamed media unit, the company will sort the rest of its wireless and wired operations into segments called Verizon Consumer Group and enterprise-focused Verizon Business Group. A company-wide IT and network tech structure will serve all three divisions.

The reshuffling comes not long after all but one of Oath’s C-suite execs—including Oath architect and former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong—fled the company in early September. Frustrated by a perceived lack of support from parent company Verizon, the execs were reportedly unhappy that the division would not in fact be spun off into a separate company led by Armstrong, as had been rumored for months earlier. The one remaining member of the leadership team, former Oath COO Guru Gowrappan, will stay on to lead the new media group, a role he took on after the exodus.

Bloomberg reported last month that Verizon had started interviewing the company’s veteran execs in anticipation of a shakeout under new CEO Hans Vestberg, who took over for Lowell McAdam in August. Vestberg, formerly Verizon’s CTO, has steered the company away from the media ambitions that led it to buy Yahoo and AOL in favor of a focus on building 5G networks, though the company has insisted that it remains committed to Oath.

While Verizon has taken an increasingly different path from chief rival AT&T in recent months as the latter doubles down on building a content and advertising empire, Verizon’s reorg somewhat mirrors the new structure AT&T took on after closing its deal to buy Time Warner this summer.

That transformation saw AT&T group its businesses into three distinct buckets: WarnerMedia, network operations and Xandr—the newly minted name for its advertising and analytics business—all under the umbrella of an overarching holding company.

Verizon announced the new structure to employees on Monday in a companywide email, in which it said more details would be coming before the changes take effect on Jan. 1 of next year.

@patrickkulp Patrick Kulp is an emerging tech reporter at Adweek.