Following through on hints that a major housecleaning was in the works,
America Online Inc. announced a reshuffling of its executive ranks.
The changes are aimed at reversing AOL's flagging dial-up-subscriber growth
and dwindling profitability.
They may also be an effort to restore confidence in the unit's financial
practices in the wake of investigations by the Securities and Exchange
Commission and the Department of Justice into possible accounting
Most notably, the realignment eliminates the chief operating officer and AOL
president position, putting newly christened AOL CEO and chairman Jon Miller in
more direct control of several key units, including AOL Broadband.
The Internet-service provider will also be looking for a new chief financial
With the COO and president slots eliminated, Miller will directly oversee the
company's brand, interactive marketing and broadband divisions. In a release,
Miller also noted that AOL will put more resources behind its AOL Broadband
unit, led by Lisa Hook.
Current COO J. Michael Kelly moves over to chairman and CEO of AOL
International and assumes command of the AOL Anywhere unit, now being managed by
CFO and executive vice president Joseph Ripp, meanwhile, will become vice
chairman. He will oversee corporate functions and operations, including
infrastructure and technology, as the company looks for a new CFO.
AOL is also setting up councils to oversee brand, product and technology
strategies, all under vice chairman Ted Leonsis' supervision.
A senior strategy group will include Miller, Leonsis, Ripp, Kelly, AOL
Interactive Services president James de Castro and AOL Time Warner Inc. Media
and Communications Group chairman Don Logan.
Current president Ray Oglethorpe will move over to a senior advisor position
before retiring from the company.
Also leaving is Jan Brant, vice chairman and chief marketing officer and
champion of the infamous AOL CD carpet-bombing mailer campaign. She will step
down and become a senior advisor, as well.
And AOL is disbanding its business-affairs department, reassigning employees
to the respective business units they support.