Platform-A Leadership Shaken up Again

Platform-A is going through another leadership shakeup. This time around, former Yahoo sales exec Greg Coleman has unseated Lynda Clazirio as President of Platform-A. Clarizio took over at the AOL advertising unit less than a year ago, replacing former Tacoda CEO Curt Viebranz, who had been in the job only six months.

The move signifies AOL’s need to drive ad sales in a down economy. The goal is to push ad sales through its media units in conjunction with Platform-A’s ad offerings, which the firm says have been fully integrated.

Coleman starts immediately. It is unclear whether Clarizio will leave AOL, where she’s been for a decade.

The company now aims to monetize its investments, which is where Coleman comes in. The focus is on growing Platform-A, in addition to its social media offerings such as Bebo, and its own site properties which include AOL.com. Most recently, Coleman was with ad targeting firm NetSeer, where he served as president and CEO since March 2008. He was EVP of Global Sales at Yahoo before that.

“Sales is a very fast-paced environment, and a business that’s prone to change,” said Platform-A spokesman Eric Chandler. “Now that the integration is complete, Platform-A is focused on building upon this foundation to drive premium branded display sales across our extensive and fast-growing MediaGlow programming network, as well as our social media business, People Networks.”

Since it launched in 2007, the Platform-A ad unit has undergone several executive turnovers. Viebranz led the unit for only a few months before being replaced by Clarizio. During her stint as Platform-A president, several other Tacoda execs left AOL, including President Daniel Jaye, former Tacoda CFO Mark Pinney, SVP Advertising Sales Matt Arkin and SVP Marketing and Business Development Larry Allen. Earlier departures included Tacoda founder Dave Morgan, and Platform-A VP of marketing solutions Kathy Kayse. AOL also announced layoffs of 100 Platform-A staffers under Clarizio’s leadership.

Nils Winkler, former managing director and SVP sales at AOL-owned AdTech has also left AOL to serve as chief business development officer at ad management firm Adtoma.

It appears Clarizio has fulfilled her mission of integrating Platform-A’s properties, according to AOL. In addition to Advertising.com — where Clarizio previously served as president — the unit houses several AOL acquisitions, including video ad firm Lightningcast, behavioral targeting firm Tacoda, mobile ad network Third Screen Media, contextual text ad network Quigo, ad management firm AdTech, and affiliate marketing firm Buy.at.

Clarizio has a history of handling integrations of mergers and acquisitions for AOL, including those of Time Warner, MapQuest, and Advertising.com. She served as SVP acquisitions and strategic investments from 1999 to 2002, and worked on the strategy and financial planning side at the company before becoming president at Advertising.com in 2006.

Coleman will report to AOL President and COO Ron Grant.

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