AOL CEO Talks Layoffs, AIM, And SAI At All-Hands Meeting

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong

During an all-hands meeting on Wednesday, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong hinted at more layoffs and said he would set aggressive goals for AOL’s publishing business.

He also talked up AIM Connect, and said the company was done taking direction from blogs.

But before all that, there was a party to butter-up employees and ostensibly celebrate Tim’s 100th day with the company Tuesday evening.

Staffers ate pulled-pork sliders and pigs-in-a-blankets and walked from fully-loaded bar to fully-loaded bar on AOL’s fifth floor.

“Basically it hit four o’clock and everybody started drinking” says a source. “Which was pretty awesome.”

During the all-hands on Wednesday, things got more serious — especially when Tim “strongly implied” that there will be more layoffs at the company.

The 100-days-on-the-job-CEO said that in the last few years, AOL had cut every cost that it could besides its personnel budget. He said that in AOL’s European offices, travel budgets are so tight employees aren’t allowed to expense gasoline anymore. The implication, according to our source, was that layoffs are inevitable and that it’s just a matter of how big they will be.

Tim said that as far as he knew, rumours of a pending post-spin-off acquisition — that is, AOL being bought — are untrue.

Predictably, Tim also made a big deal out of AOL’s publishing business, and said management will this week issue them “really aggressive” growth targets — ones that will people will probably be “surprised and nervous” about.

Tim also “talked a lot” about AIM Connect — “something about it functioning as a news service,” says a source.

AIM Connect is a tool Web publishers can install that lets visitors sign into AIM on the spot.  In official docs, AOL promises AIM Connect will bring publishers “Increased revenue through ad-targeting solutions with powerful insights on your users.”

Tim mentioned MapQuest and AOL’s local strategy, too.

The all-hands wasn’t all business; there were some more light-hearted moments, too.

For example, after an introduction from Tim, one Patch exec told the crowd — apropos of nothing, apparently — that “until he was embarrassingly old,” he thought all dogs were male and all cats were female.

Tim supposedly replied, “I can’t believe we gave this guy money.”

During the question-and-answer portion of the all-hands, one staffer asked Tim if SAI’s estimate that AOL will probably have to lay-off another ~2,000 employees was close to the mark.

We were glad to hear of Tim’s response. First he said that he doesn’t even know how large any layoffs will be. Then he said, “The old AOL was run by blogs, the new AOL is run by me.”

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