AOL’s Barrett Departs for Fox Interactive Media

Michael Barrett, who guided AOL through a digital media resurgence as EVP of its Media Networks division, has disembarked to take a position with Fox Interactive Media (FIM), according to a source familiar with the matter.

He’s replaced by Kathleen Kayse, previously SVP of sales for the company, who starts immediately in her new post.

Barrett took over AOL’s ad sales operation early in 2004, following the resignation of then online media head Lisa Brown after only eight months on the job.

His sudden departure comes as AOL has made strides as a force in online media and advertising. In the past year, the company has launched its public portal at AOL.com, signed original content deals, and expanded its popular instant messenger product. Additionally, it has major holdings in ad technology and media sales around the Web through its Advertising.com unit and recent acquisition of Lightningcast.

In joining FIM, Barrett casts his lot with another company on a huge role. Over the past year, the interactive division of News Corp. has picked up such online media powerhouses as MySpace, IGN Entertainment and Scout.com.

New EVP of Sales Kathleen Kayse joined AOL as SVP of sales in November 2004, prior to which she held various posts with Time Warner. Among her roles was that of publisher of People magazine, Money, and Fortune Small Business.

“Kathy… has led the national advertising sales teams to record growth,” Mike Kelly, president of AOL Media Networks, said in a statement. “She is a strong leader and has been responsible for some of the largest and most successful media sales organizations in the U.S., with an impressive track record that will extend the success she has fostered in national sales to the entire AOL sales operation.”

Fox Interactive Media declined to comment for this story.

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