AOL Shake-Up to Result in Four Divisions

As it prepares to fire 700 employees to cut costs, America Online’s CEO Jonathan Miller will restructure the company into four units: one focused on advertising and content; another handling access; another for premium digital services; and AOL Europe.

The shake-up will result in the departure of three high-ranking AOL executives. Lisa Hook, president of AOL broadband, will be one of those to depart. Also expected to leave are Joseph Ripp, who handled technology, network operations and marketing, and J. Michael Kelly, chairman and CEO of AOL International. Ripp will return to work at AOL’s parent company with Don Logan, chairman of Time Warner’s Media and Communications group.

Miller announced the changes to thousands of AOL employees yesterday in an email. In the message, Miller said the changes were designed to help AOL become a more nimble decision maker.

AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis will head up the advertising and content-focused division, called Audience, which will sell advertising on the company’s various properties. The new Access division, to be headed by Neil Smit, will handle dial-up, broadband and other means AOL uses to get members online, including partnerships. AOL Europe will continue to be headed by Philip Rowley. John McKinley will lead the Digital Services unit, to encompass premium and subscription services. Heads of each unit will report directly to Miller.

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