*UPDATE: AOL and Lynda Clarizio responded shortly after we published this post, saying that it contains several errors. We have noted this in the text and have included Lynda’s gracious note below.
**UPDATE 2: Our source responds to Lynda’s response. The good news: He/She really likes Lynda and says she’s well-respected within the company. Full note below.
We received an anonymous tip from an executive at Advertising.com, the ad network that is AOL’s best-performing business (TWX). To place the tipster’s information in context, here’s some background.
As you will recall, the head of Advertising.com, Lynda Clarizio, has just been promoted to run AOL’s broader ad-network group, Platform A. Lynda is taking the place of Curt Viebranz, who got canned last Friday.
Lynda’s first order of business, one source says, is to integrate Tacoda, Quigo, and other recent acquisitions into Advertising.com. Advertising.com has been run as a stand-alone subsidiary, with a separate ad sales force from AOL’s (which caused some friction). Our tipster believes Lynda will also be integrating the Advertising.com sales force with the AOL sales force. We believe this makes sense.
We have not been able to confirm any of this information, although the combination of the sales forces will presumably result in the elimination of “redundancies.”
- Lynda Clarizio is planning to put ad.com sales leadership in all key positions. There will be one sales force.
- Half of AOL sales force to be cut
- Mark Ellis is the only AOL sales leader that will survive. Lynda is meeting with him in NYC Thursday. [Lynda says she will not be in New York on Thursday]
- Don Kennedy is currently in charge of all ad.com sales. He may get the head nod for Platform A. Maybe Ellis. Hard to say
- [AOL COO] Ron Grant made an arse of himself late 2007 by yelling and screaming at ad.com leadership in Baltimore. Considering we are the only group keeping him afloat, that pissed a lot of people off. [Lynda says that she led the meeting in Baltimore and that Ron didn’t yell or scream.]
- Ad.com doesn’t necessarily not like Tacoda [a recent behavioural-targeting acquisition]. Tacoda is just tiny and doesn’t make a dent in big sales goals
- Most ad.com’ers would rather stay separate as all the acquisitions haven’t helped ad.com at all revenue wise
- Many senior folks have left ad.com in last 6 months
Full Note from Lynda Clarizio:
I appreciate the interest in Platform-A and my management of it. I’ve been in the job less than three days. I held a conference call with all Platform-A employees yesterday morning and laid out for them the opportunity I see in consolidating and integrating this amazing collection of assets. While I haven’t finalised all of my plans about the management team or the go-forward structure of Platform-A just yet, I do believe that it’s critical that we move to one sales force. This is what agencies and advertisers have told us they want. You can be sure that moving quickly is my top priority and I’ve committed to the team that I will have answers for them as soon as next week.
I’m not, actually, going to be in New York tomorrow and there are a number of other errors in your post. For example, I hosted the meeting in Baltimore . Randy Falco and Ron Grant were both there. To suggest that the COO of our company yelled and screamed is simply not true.
We have a great opportunity with Platform-A. We have tremendous assets — both in our people and with the companies we’ve acquired. We want to enable advertisers to harness the full power of digital media to meet their marketing needs and to provide publishers with the most comprehensive set of tools and technologies to manage and monetise their advertising inventory.
We need to move quickly to align ourselves to best position Platform-A to meet our strategic goals and I’m 100% focused on this.
Our source responds:
R Grant did rant at team in 2007.
Lynda’s email by not denying the layoffs, confirmed them.
Having spent a lot of time/years at both companies (one of the 50 plus people to do so) I am excited at the future prospects. Lynda is well liked and respected by her employees. She is very good at what she does and is often underestimated by those she goes up against. Having spent time at both organisations I can say that both Ad.com/AOL have strong sales leadership. Sales integration may be the easy part.
The operation side (my side) will be much more difficult to implement. We already have 4 new companies to blend in. Now Bebo too. Luckily at the senior levels of operations there are many folks that worked at both companies.