AOL Time Warner Names Execs

With AOL Time Warner committed to using its media and entertainment assets to bolster its flagging Internet unit, the company Monday announced two executive appointments to increase cooperation between the two often-fractious halves of the company.

AOL Time Warner turned to former McCann-Erickson executive William Grogan to fill the position of senior vice president for global marketing. Grogan will report to Michael Kelly, AOL Time Warner’s president for global marketing. Kelly, a former Entertainment Weekly publisher, was just brought in three months ago.

Grogan is charged with increasing the cross-platform advertising opportunities in the company’s far-flung media empire, which includes everything from magazines to movies to the AOL Internet service.

Meanwhile, AOL, long identified as the company’s weak link, borrowed a former Time Inc. editor to help it figure how best to leverage the company’s trove of media content for the Internet service.

Ned Desmond, president of Time Inc. new economy magazine Business 2.0, was named executive editor of Time Inc. Interactive, charged with overseeing AOL’s integration of content from various Time Inc. magazines, which include Time, People and Entertainment Weekly.

In the newly created position, the company said Desmond would look particularly to Time Inc. publications geared to specific user segments, such as women, kids and entertainment, which AOL has identified as key to its revival.

Earlier this month, Don Logan, chairman of AOL Time Warner’s media and communications group, said the Internet unit would aggressively use Time Warner content to lure subscribers, in order to make up for the precipitous two-year decline in advertising revenue.

After the last of its $500 million of boom-time long-term advertising deals run out shortly, Miller said AOL expected even steeper declines in ad revenue: In 2003, it expects e-commerce and ad revenue will fall between 40 percent and 50 percent.

In Grogan, AOL Time Warner tapped an industry veteran, who handled major advertising accounts for Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson at Interpublic Group’s McCann-Erickson. The company said he would work with the various AOL Time Warner business units, including AOL, to better push integrated marketing campaigns.

“I look forward to helping create smart solutions for our marketing partners,” he said. “AOL Time Warner’s businesses are the market leaders in media and entertainment, and it has been my experience that clients have a strong interest in working across these platforms to reach consumers in new and effective ways.”

Desmond, who will work out of AOL’s Dulles, Va., headquarters beginning this summer, will act as a bridge between the Internet unit and the Time Inc. properties. In addition to serving as an executive and editor at Business 2.0, he worked in editorial positions at other Time Inc. titles, including Time and Fortune, as well as at Infoseek and Disney’s Go.com.

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