AOL CMO Exits, Won’t be Replaced

Departure caps off a topsy turvy 2012 for AOL senior staffing

AOL CMO and head of communications Jolie Hunt is leaving the company after only five months, the latest move in what has been a peculiar second half of the year for senior level sales and marketing staffing at the Web media pioneer.

Hunt was appointed to the AOL post back in July from Reuters, where she worked as svp, global head of brand and public relations. Initial reports say that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has decided to eliminate the CMO role moving forward in order to ramp up investment and focus on marketing efforts for the company's individual properties like the group and The Huffington Post.

Armstrong, who at the time of Hunt's hiring called marketing and communications "critically important to AOL" seems to have had a change of heart as how to execute that vision. Hunt's exit is not the first quick staffing departure at AOL over the past several months either. Earlier this year, Huffington Post ad sales chief Mortiz Loew was dismissed after only three months on the job.

Lauren Knapp, an NBC PR veteran left the Huffington Post, also left after a few months. 

Whether the changes are a reflection of corporate culture clash or simply the results of a comprehensive restructuring approach by Armstrong, it would appear AOL is looking to re-position itself in the new year. Just last month AOL showed signs the company plans to court agencies more directly and continue to increase its role in digital advertising with the hire of its first-ever head of agency and industry relations.