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Platform-A Reorg Phase Two: Exec Shuffles, Disbanding Of Property and Category Sales Teams

This story was written by David Kaplan.
About a week before Google's Tim Armstrong takes over as head of AOL (NYSE: TWX), Platform-A President Greg Coleman has implemented the second phase of his reworking of the advertising unit. I met with Coleman earlier this week, and he said he had informed Armstrong of some of the steps he was planning on taking and indicated that there was full agreement going forward.

Last month, Coleman issued some major changes at the top of Platform-A's ad sales teams. This latest realignment digs down a bit deeper, according to a memo obtained by paidContent. For example, Chris Maccaro will shift from VP of Property Sales to the title of VP New York, where he will head an expanded regional sales team. In turn, Maccaro will be announcing his own leadership team and sales structure over the next few weeks. The New York, Boston and Mid-Atlantic offices will report into Mark Ellis on an interim basis. Also, Platform-A's Toronto office will now report into Rick Simmons and become part of the Midwest Region.

Secondly, Brent Spitzer, regional sales director and an AOL vet of nine years, is exiting the company. No replacement has named yet. Also, the Property and Category sales teams will be phased out. The staffs on those teams will be reassigned to other parts of Platform-A.

As those teams go way, Coleman is setting up what he's calling a new Marketing Solutions unit within Platform-A, which fuses the Strategy, Marketing and Property Sales Development staffs. It will also act as a bridge between AOL's programming unit, MediaGlow, and Platform-A's network. Coleman's full memo after the jump.

To: Platform-A US employees
From: Greg Coleman
Subject line: Organizational announcement

Dear Platform-A colleagues,

At our last All Hands meeting we discussed the need to move quickly to position Platform-A to grow revenues and gain share in today's tough market.  We talked about how we are putting together a plan of action that we can implement quickly, and how we need to move aggressively to better align our sales force, and get more people on the street selling.

Today, we're announcing the first steps we're taking to implement this plan.

First, I'm pleased to announce that we've named Chris Maccaro VP New York, where he will lead an expanded regional sales team in our largest market. Chris has worked in a variety of roles in his six years at AOL, most recently as VP Property Sales. Prior to that, he was a Regional Sales Director in New York. Chris will be announcing his leadership team and sales structure over the next few weeks. The New York, Boston and Mid-Atlantic offices will report into Mark Ellis on an interim basis. Also, our Toronto office will now report into Rick Simmons and become part of the Midwest Region.

As a part of this realignment, Brent Spitzer will be leaving the company. Brent has made many tremendous contributions to our organization over the past nine years. Please join me in thanking him for everything he's done for Platform-A and wishing him all the best on his next endeavor.

Next, we will be disbanding of the Property and Category sales teams and realigning many of the talented individuals from those teams into regional sales and other parts of the organization. Both teams were instrumental in providing vertical focus and sales pressure over the past year, but there is a more urgent need now to drive direct advertiser demand and relationships.  Our Homepage and Multcultural teams will remain intact and will report to Ron Bernstein.

The Product Sales team will continue to report to Julie Greenhouse but will move under Don Kennedy, as will Ben Trenda who runs Agency Partnerships and Global Alliances. Don will also create a small team of sales specialists who will focus exclusively on driving network revenue through the regional sales teams. Don will be working to build his team and will announce details of his organization in the next few weeks.

We all recognize the need to drive world class customer solutions more effectively and efficiently. To that end, we are creating a new Marketing Solutions organization, which will combine the current Strategy, Marketing and Property Sales Development teams. This new organization will focus on the needs of sales and the customer, and will harness the assets of MediaGlow, the network and our other best-of-breed products. We're beginning a search for a strong leader to run the Marketing Solutions organization. We are also beginning a search for a highly credentialed Research Director to support sales.  In the interim, Doug Boccia, Aleck Schleider and Blake Pierson will report to Mark Ellis. Anne Hunter and her ADlytics team will now report into Peter Ban and the Business Intelligence organization.

We are not planning any near-term structural changes in our Account Management organization.  This team is critical to our success in scaling revenue, and it has risen to the occasion throughout the integration of Platform-A and our migration to ADTECH.

I realize that these are widespread changes, but they are necessary for us to succeed.  There will be a transition period of several weeks where we will provide more structural clarity and displaced individuals will be able to interview for open positions.

I can't tell you how encouraged and excited I am about the progress we are making and what we're going to accomplish at Platform-A. These changes are the first steps in moving forward to build a world-class sales organization.


By David Kaplan

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