News

AOL Rattles Online Exec Ranks

9/15/2002 8:00 PM Eastern

Following through on hints that a major housecleaning was in the works, America Online last week said it reshuffled its executive ranks.

The changes are aimed to reverse the Internet-service provider's flagging dial-up subscriber growth and dwindling profitability, while boosting its AOL Broadband product.

Most notably, the realignment eliminates the positions of chief operating officer and AOL president. As a result, newly christened AOL CEO and chairman Jonathan Miller is more directly in control of several key units, including AOL Broadband. The company is also looking for a new chief financial officer.

With the COO and president slots eliminated, Miller will directly oversee the company's brand, interactive marketing and broadband divisions. AOL also will put more resources behind its AOL Broadband unit, led by Lisa Hook.

Current COO J. Michael Kelly — the former chief financial officer of parent AOL Time Warner Inc. — moves over to become chairman and CEO of AOL International and assumes command of the AOL Anywhere unit, now being managed by Hook.

CFO and executive vice president Joseph Ripp becomes vice chairman. He will oversee other corporate and operating functions, including infrastructure and technology.

As it looks for a new CFO, the company will also disband its business-affairs department, reassigning employees to the respective business units they support. The unit's accounting practices are presently being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Current president Ray Oglethorpe will move to a senior adviser position before retiring from the company.

Also stepping down is vice chairwoman and chief operating officer Jan Brandt, the champion of the infamous campaign through which AOL carpet-bombed mailboxes with CD-ROMs of its software. She'll also become a senior adviser.

As it pares down its executive-suite ranks, AOL will establish councils to oversee its branding, product and technology strategies, all under the supervision of vice chairman Ted Leonsis. A senior strategy group will include Logan, Miller, Leonsis, Ripp, Kelly and AOL Interactive Services President James de Castro.

Those now reporting directly to Miller include De Castro, Kelly, Leonsis, Ripp and Hook, as well as Randall J. Boe, executive vice president and general counsel; John Buckley, executive vice president of corporate communications; Joseph Redling, president of brand marketing; and Robert Sherman, president of interactive marketing.

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