Departures Shake Up AOL's Exec Suite

Programming Chief Jim Bankoff, Two Others Leaving

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NEW YORK ( -- It's out with the old, in with the new at AOL. Weeks after Randy Falco was made CEO of Time Warner's AOL, the industry is abuzz
Jim Bankoff, who has been responsible for much of AOL's programming, is leaving the company.
Jim Bankoff, who has been responsible for much of AOL's programming, is leaving the company. Credit: AP
with the news that three senior execs are leaving -- including the programming chief behind what is arguably AOL's most buzz-worthy execution of the past two years: its online broadcast of Live 8.

Jim Bankoff, the exec VP-consumer and publisher services responsible for much of AOL's programming (including a recently inked comedy deal with HBO), is leaving the company, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Also leaving are Joe Redling, president of AOL Mobile, customer management and paid services and CEO of the international business, and John Buckley, exec VP-corporate communications. AOL has reduced its staff by about 25% over the past six months, mostly as part of its plan to shed AOL's subscription dial-up business in favor of becoming a free, ad-supported portal.

On the blogs
Rumors have swirled on industry blogs about which senior-level AOL execs would leave the company under the new CEO. PaidContent reported today the departure of Messrs. Bankoff, Redling and Buckley. AOL had no comment.

The main advertiser contacts at AOL are expected to remain the same: Mike Kelly, president of AOL Media Networks; Kathy Kayse, exec VP-sales and partnership alliances, AOL Media Networks; and Kevin Conroy, exec VP.

The three departures are the latest in a series of shakeups that Time Warner President-Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Bewkes is making at the company to position AOL as a bigger contributor, mostly through advertising, to Time Warner's bottom line (and, many observers say, to make AOL a more attractive acquisition or spinoff target).

Last month, Mr. Bewkes replaced AOL CEO Jonathan Miller with Mr. Falco, an NBC Universal TV veteran. He also installed Ron Grant, Time Warner's senior VP-operations, as AOL's chief operating officer.
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