It was only a matter of time but it appears as if the time has arrived. While the buzz from some folks inside of AOL is very positive about the addition of Tim Armstrong it is going to get louder as more major hires are announced. The first is the hiring of a new top ad sales executive for the company. Not a surprise considering Armstrong’s pedigree and the importance of showing that AOL is still in the business of generating revenue through its properties.
Jeff Levick, who has worked at Google since 2001, most recently as vice president of industry development and marketing, is the latest in a series of Google executives who have announced plans to leave the company.
The 38-year-old executive will become president of global advertising and strategy at AOL, a unit of Time Warner Inc. He will be responsible for Platform-A, AOL’s ad unit, and for developing global revenue strategies.
So there are several observations to make here. First, don’t get to comfortable in any new job. Levick is replacing Gregory Coleman who took the job of president of Platform under the previous AOL CEO in February. Two months doesn’t even give most people enough time to find all the restrooms at a company the size of AOL let alone work themselves out of a job. Coleman will be leaving the company. One thing that may be noted is that Coleman came to AOL from Yahoo, which may be a resume liability these days.
Of course, the other side of the story is another executive leaving Google. Need for concern? Too early to tell but traditionally Google has required exiting executives to sign agreements not to hire Google employees for one year. The terms of Armstrong’s agreement upon leaving Google are not known.
People familiar with the matter said AOL has interviewed other potential job candidates from Google as well. That suggests that Google has given Mr. Armstrong, a former senior vice president who was one of its earliest employees, more freedom to hire former colleagues than it has with other former executives.
With AOL now poised to spin off from the Time Warner mothership and new blood being injected in what many thought was a dying entity, could AOL get comeback player of the year honors? Or, will this be an overhyped flurry of activity that puts AOL back in the news but results in the same old, same old? Your take?