One AOL insider’s take is that today’s voluntary layoff offers are all about pushing out the overpaid old-timers who have gone untouched for years thanks to their loyalty to AOL.
It’s also a way of weeding out those who don’t believe in that new strategy.
The idea is that AOL already fired A) all the top execs who had seperation agreements B) a bunch of relatively new execs like Greg Coleman, who were not people who have stood by the brand through its ups, downs and more downs.
That leaves SVPs who are people Tim “wanted to get rid of, but couldnt because they are long time loyalists to the brand.”
If these people choose to quit now, they’ll get nine months severance. If they get laid off in Q1, they get just four months.
Says our insider:
“This could be a nice “get a year off” sort of thing for some who have been with the company a long time and this is a good way for them to save face rather than get fired later.”
Of course, taking the voluntary layoff may seem like the safe move, but it’s also a gamble. Many SVPs who would take this offer would, if they stayed on, get a lot of stock in a new AOL. If they quit now, they’re essentially betting against AOL’s chances on the public market.
We’ll call this a two-fer for AOL CEO Tim Armstrong:
- He gets rid of old-timers who don’t contribute anymore.
- And he weeds out top execs who don’t believe in the company’s strategy.
Correction: An earlier version of this post said AOL fired Joanna Shields. That is not correct. She tells us, “I left on my own accord.”