http://biz.yahoo.com/djus/020912/1211000515_1.html Dow Jones Business News America Online Announces New Senior-Management Structure Thursday September 12, 12:11 pm ET
DULLES, Va. — AOL Time Warner Inc.’s America Online Inc. (NYSE:AOL – News) unit streamlined its management structure in hopes of increasing accountability at the online giant, while setting clearer priorities and clarifying its organization roles.
ADVERTISEMENT The changes, which had been expected, would eliminate the president and chief operating officer posts, while giving recently appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Jon Miller a more direct role in overseeing America Online’s key units.
In addition, the maligned Business Affairs division will be disbanded, with employees reassigned to the business units they support. The group, which arranged long-term sponsorships and marketing partnerships with advertisers, has come under criticism for the way it crafted deals, some of which are under investigation by the government regulators looking at how the booked revenue was recorded.
The company said a month ago that America Online may have improperly recognized $49 million of revenue over six quarters and is combing through its books for any other possible errors.
Mr. Miller has his hands full, with America Online reeling from plunging advertising revenue, slowing subscriber growth and probes into its accounting practices by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department.
Mr. Miller, who last month became the third CEO of the Internet unit this year, will take a more direct role in the America Online brand, interactive marketing and broadband units.
“AOL must maintain its leadership position among dial-up subscribers, enhance our broadband business and reinvigorate our relationship with marketers,” he said in a prepared statement. “To do this, we will fully leverage our programming and product expertise, along with the superior technology behind our unmatched member experience, to create exciting, relevant and distinctive new products and content that will change the way both dial-up and high-speed consumers think about AOL.”
As part of the restructuring, current America Online COO J. Michael Kelly will become chairman and CEO of America Online International, will oversee the company’s AOL Anywhere products — which focus on wireless access to America Online — and report to Mr. Miller.
“Mike Kelly’s appointment signals the priority I’ve placed on our international and AOL Anywhere businesses,” Mr. Miller said.
Chief Financial Officer Joseph Ripp will become vice chairman and other corporate and operating functions, including AOL’s network infrastructure and technology operations. Current Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis will head newly created councils overseeing brand, product and technology strategy.
The two will also join Mr. Miller, James de Castro, interactive services president and the person who oversees the America Online Internet service, and Don Logan, chairman of AOL Time Warner’s media and communications group, in a new senior strategy group.
Mr. Ripp, America Online’s CFO since the company’s acquisiton of Time Warner Inc. in early 2001, will keep that role until a replacement is named. Mr. Kelly became America Online’s chief operating officer in November.
Mr. Miller also said that America Online President Ray Oglethorpe recently told the company he would retire after serving as a senior adviser during an undisclosed transition period, and that Vice Chairman and Chief Marketing Officer Jan Brandt will step down from those posts and take on a new part-time role as a senior adviser.
-Maria P. Vallejo; Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-5400 and Kevin Kingsbury; Dow Jones Newswires; 609-520-4367