AOL Sales Exec Kathy Kayse Bolts to Discovery

Several days after Time Warner revealed plans to split AOL into separate units housing its Web access and ad-related businesses, one of the unit’s top sales executives has done some splitting of her own.

Kathleen Kayse has left her post as VP of marketing solutions for AOL’s Platform A division to take a job as EVP of digital media sales for Discovery Communications. Kayse, who has logged 24 years with TW, was named to lead the newly created Marketing Solutions group at Platform A, AOL’s audience and ad networks division.

Discovery Ad Sales President Joe Abruzzese said Kayse would bring in new ad clients to monetize the company’s Web sites, VOD and mobile offerings.

“Kathy integrates linear and digital media skillfully, which bodes well for Discovery as we expand our advertising opportunities across our multi-platform assets,” he said in a statement to ClickZ. Discovery says its Web properties draw 25 million unique visitors each month.

AOL has begun a search for Kayse’s replacement, naming regional sales heads Matthew Arkin and Mark Ellis to fill in temporarily. Both report to Curt Viebranz, the former CEO of Tacoda who’s now in charge of Platform A. Kayse reported to Viebranz, who also previously worked for TW, under the new structure announced in December.

Time Warner continues to invest heavily in Platform A. Its latest ad-related acquisitions include buy.at, an affiliate marketing company, and Goowy, a provider of widget technology.

Prior to joining AOL, Kayse spent 21 years at other Time Warner positions including a stint as publisher of People magazine, Money and FSB: Fortune Small Business.

In a statement, Kayse said she was “drawn to the role” at Discovery after seeing how quickly it was expanding into the digital space. Discovery-owned digital properties include HowStuffWorks.com, Treehugger.com and Petfinder.com.

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