AOL Names Cross-Media Marketing Head

Management changes continue at AOL Time Warner , with the New York-based media conglomerate appointing Michael Kelly to head up its cross-media marketing.

Kelly will assume the post of president at AOL’s Global Marketing Solutions group, which is responsible for implementing advertising agreements across the company’s online and offline properties.

Kelly previously served as founder and chief executive of community Internet play American Town Network, before which he had served at Time Inc. — a tenure that included a four-year stint as publisher of Entertainment Weekly magazine. He will report to Don Logan, chairman of AOL’s Media & Communications Group.

The appointment fills a spot vacated months earlier by Meyer Berlow, an early proponent of the cross-platform synergies considered by many to have been at the heart of the America Online-Time Warner merger.

But speculation has been rampant during recent months about whether AOL Time Warner would continue focusing as heavily as it once did on such initiatives, following the decline in online ad dollars. In recent quarters, losses from AOL’s once-vaunted Internet properties contributed to the company’s lackluster results, offset only in part by America Online subscriptions and offline sales.

Nevertheless, the company indicated that Kelly’s appointment indicated continued confidence in cross-channel marketing.

“I’m very pleased that Mike is coming back to our company,” Logan said. “His appointment reflects our belief that our Global Marketing Solutions group can play a significant role in growing our advertising revenues across AOL Time Warner.”

The announcement also comes on the heels of AOL Time Warner’s confirmation Thursday of the management overhaul at its America Online unit, brought about in an effort to boost the division’s flagging performance.

The moves eliminated the posts of chief operating officer and president at the Dulles, Va.-based unit, while granting more direct operational control to recently-appointed Jon Miller, America Online’s chairman and CEO. Chief operating officer J. Michael Kelly (no relation to Friday’s appointee) will become chairman and CEO of AOL International, while current AOL president Ray Oglethorpe will step down from his post.

The changes also removed the company’s controversial business affairs group, which has come under scrutiny in recent weeks for the way it structured several online advertising deals, and under criticism for the way it operated independently of the AOL divisions on whose behalf it negotiated ad deals.

Miller said the changes would lead to “greater stability” at the troubled unit.

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