Another One Bites the Dust at Platform-A

Since mid-2007, when Kurt Viebranz took over sales responsibility for AOL’s combined ad network business, the unit has burned through three such executives. Now, according to a BoomTown report, Platform-A is moving on to its fourth.

The latest to go is Greg Coleman, the former Yahoo sales guy hired three months ago to replace Lynda Clarizio at Platform-A’s helm, according to the report.

Coleman is in part the victim of what might charitably be described as bad timing. Not long after his hire, Time Warner announced the naming of Google’s Tim Armstrong to lead the whole company as CEO. Since oversight of sales is unquestionably the most important strategic role at the beleaguered subsidiary, it’s not too surprising Armstrong wanted to undo the hire made by his predecessor, previous AOL CEO Randy Falco.

Coleman’s replacement is former Googler Jeff Levick, according to the report. With Google since 2001, his most recent title is VP industry development & marketing, the Americas. Among other industry positions, Levick is a board director for the Search Engine Strategies conference series, which is a sister event to ClickZ.

The hire comes as Time Warner prepares a likely spin-off of AOL. In a 10-Q filing yesterday the company said it “currently anticipates that it would initiate a process to spin off one or more parts of the businesses of AOL to Time Warner’s stockholders.” That move would put Tim Armstrong in charge of a powerful independent ad network. Whether Platform-A would remain intact with AOL’s Internet access business is unclear, but the company took the step last year of separating the businesses operationally, so separating them is feasible.

AOL’s Q1 revenues plummeted 23 percent to $867 million in the quarter, Time Warner reported yesterday. In addition to the 20 percent drop in ad revenues, the firm reported a 27 percent decline in subscription revenues.

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