There’s no doubt that Tim Armstrong did a lot of great things while serving as Google’s top ad sales executive, but his departure to become AOL’s new CEO takes place during a slump in performance.
With the recently announced closures of Google Audio Ads and Google Print–and Google TV not doing much better–Google, led by Armstrong’s efforts, has struggled to diversify its ad sales. Which leads me to the big question: Did Tim Armstrong leave Google because it was struggling, or because he was struggling?
Think about it. Either way Armstrong is a genius.
If Google’s business model simply doesn’t lend itself to anything other than AdWords and AdSense, why would a hot-shot ad sales guy stick around in such a limited role?
Alternatively, if Armstrong was the weak link–after all most of his experience is in online ad sales–then why not switch to a company that, a) needs help with its online ad sales and, b) is willing to offer you what Google can’t–the title of CEO?
Unfortunately for Armstrong, by taking the AOL gig, we’re unlikely to find out if he was a superstar held back or a one-trick pony let go. Unless AOL can free itself of Time Warner–which is unlikely in this tough recession–Armstrong may find that his ability to turn AOL around is very much hampered by old baggage.
Wired.com goes as far as asking "Has Google’s Tim Armstrong Lost His Mind?" I don’t know, what do you think?