AOL has seen better days. It has never been able to replicate its high-flying act of the 1990s and under Time Warner, at times it seems to have barely managed to stay above ground.
It was time for a change and yesterday it got one as soon-to-be-former Google Senior Vice President Tim Armstrong was named chairman and CEO of AOL.
Kara Swisher has all the juicy details, including the revelation that Time Warner broke the news to outgoing CEO Randy Falco and outgoing COO Ron Grant in an abrupt fashion without any warning.
Falco’s replacement, Armstrong, is a highly-regarded Google ad sales executive who is credited with playing a key role in building up Google as an online advertising powerhouse.
Turning AOL around is a huge undertaking for anybody but Armstrong seems confident and excited. He still considers AOL to be one of the only “global Internet brands” and thinks that it still has the assets to be a player.
His first tasks when he takes the helm on April 7?
He’ll need to figure out the best structure for AOL. A spin-off from Time Warner seems to be the betting favorite and makes a lot of sense.
He’ll also need to start planning AOL’s turnaround. You can be sure that he’s going to want AOL to spend more time and energy on its advertising business, which is where he can bring the most knowledge, experience and insight.
But structure and planning is only part of the equation. Whether AOL can be turned around remains to be seen but if anybody out there can do it, AOL probably didn’t make a bad choice in selecting Armstrong as the man to try.