PaidContent has learned that Lewis Dvorkin is leaving his post as SVP, *AOL* News and Sports, on May 1, with plans to start his own content company. Dvorkin, a media veteran who has held top editorial positions at Forbes, WSJ, NYT and Newsweek, played an integral part in the development of AOL's (NYSE: TWX) celebrity gossip news site TMZ.com, the launch of AOL Sports' Fanhouse channel and helped manage the transition of Netscape.com into social news site Propeller. An 8-year AOL vet, he also worked on reforming AOL's news and sports sites to be more blog-like.
Marty Moe, currently SVP for AOL Personal Finance, will now oversee News and Sports. This new duty will be added to his current responsibilities, which include managing Weblogs, which consists of 75 individual blogs, including Engadget, Joystiq, Gadling and Cinematical. He also handles AOL's kids site, KOL. Day-to-day running of news and sports, therefore, passes to Stephen Pendlebury, who has been Dvorkin's director for news and is being promoted to VP. Dvorkin's exit comes amid a string of recent high-profile departures from AOL, albeit on the ad side: Platform-A President Curt Viebranz was ousted last month; Dave Morgan left in February as EVP-Global Advertising Strategy in February also to create a start-up; and also in February, Kathy Kayse exited as EVP of marketing solutions to work for Discovery Communications.
-- A second shot: Dvorkin told me today that he wanted to try his hand at creating his own online content company. This would be his second one shot: in 1995, he co-founded Virtual City, a quarterly lifestyle print pub about cyberspace, which was funded by Newsweek. That's still pretty amorphous since he has yet to decide on a direction. But he said he's leaving AOL on amicable terms and would be at least amenable to partnering with AOL on the new venture if the right fit is there; no discussions have taken place on that front. Dvorkin: "I want to start from scratch, be off on my own. I've been involved in programming all my life, so obviously, that's what I'm interested in. AOL has allowed me the ability to play in politics, news, sports and entertainment. I hope to take everything I've learned into a new media opportunity."
By David Kaplan