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It's Official: AOL Names Google's Levick President, Global Ad Strategy; 'An Expanded Role'

This story was written by David Kaplan.
Rather than just replacing Greg Coleman as head of Platform-A (NYSE: TWX), AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is giving his former Google (NSDQ: GOOG) colleague Jeff Levick an expanded role as the company as president, Global Advertising and Strategy, AOL announced. In this new title, Levick will be responsible for Platform-A, AOL's advertising business, as well as developing global revenue strategies. Levick comes to AOL from Google, where he was most recently VP of Industry Development and Marketing, The Americas. He will report directly to Armstrong. Release

The challenge: While the scope of Levick's new job is different, the basic challenges that he would have faced just at Platform-A remain the same. The global recession has left the once robust growth in online advertising fairly anemic at best. As parent Time Warner reported yesterday, AOL's Q1 revenues were down 23 percent, as display sank 17 percent, search fell 12 percent and third party revs dropped 29 percent. He begins with a demoralized staff, numb to the never-ending upheaval and ongoing plans to shrink its workforce. Add to that the uncertainty associated with Time Warner's coordination with Armstrong to spin off the company in the coming weeks. During his time at AOL, which was just prior to Armstrong being brought in over him, Coleman kept a noticeably low profile. He rarely, if ever, spoke on the record. How quickly and how open Levick will be could determine whether Armstrong's confidence is genuine or if he's just another transitional figure. As for Google, sources there say that Levick's closeness with Armstrong made his departure "highly expected." There's no rush to replace him, as Google has at least one other high profile spot to fill at the moment. More after the jump

Levick will come on board in the next few weeks. Calls to Google asking about his replacement were not returned. At Google, Levick handled business marketing activities for the Americas and sales development for all of the vertical industries covered by Google's Americas sales organization. He joined Google in 2001 and has held a variety of executive posts in the company's ad sales division in both North America and Europe.

In a statement, Armstrong said: "I've worked with Jeff for more than seven years at Google, and he is absolutely the right person to drive growth in our premium ad sales, dramatically scale our Advertising.com business, and further develop AOL's research initiatives and consumer insights."
AOL also said that Coleman will be leaving Platform-A, where he has served as President since early February 2009, when he replaced Lynda Clarizio, the second person to lead the unit in the last year. Armstrong's statement praised Coleman for making "a strong imprint on Platform-A's sales organization reorganizing and refocusing the team."


By David Kaplan