AOL Adds Another Google Exec

Former Content Chief David Eun Will Replace Bill Wilson as Head of Media Networks

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- AOL has added another ex-Google exec to its leadership ranks. The latest to jump to AOL is content chief David Eun, who led all of Google and YouTube's licensing and partnerships with TV networks, publishers and studios and played a key role in navigating Google's sometimes adversarial relationship with media companies.

David Eun
David Eun
Mr. Eun becomes president of AOL Media and Studios, replacing Bill Wilson and reporting to Tim Armstrong, who left Google a year ago to become CEO of the company. Since then, Mr. Armstrong has fortified AOL's executive suite with his former co-workers, including Jeff Levick, president of global advertising; agency relations director Erin Clift; and former YouTube sales exec Shashi Seth, who has since departed for Yahoo.

Sensitive to the notion that he's raiding his former employer, Mr. Armstrong said fewer than half his top deputies are ex-Googlers, singling out chief financial officer and former Time Warner Cable exec Artie Minson and consumer applications president Brad Garlinghouse, who came from Yahoo after a stint in private equity.

"We've hired hundreds of people since I got here and a single digit percentage or less from Google," he said.

Mr. Eun takes over a division that is the core of Mr. Armstrong's growth strategy for AOL: that is, building online media properties that are attractive to brands in order to grow premium display ad revenue. But it was actually Mr. Wilson who set AOL on this path over his nine years at the company by launching dozens of new sites serving advertiser-friendly demographics.

In a memo to staff, Mr. Armstrong said Mr. Wilson "saw the opportunity presented by audience fragmentation on the web and positioned AOL's content offerings in a number of key verticals."

Mr. Wilson was one of the last senior executive links to the pre-Armstrong AOL, and in a memo, Mr. Armstrong said Mr. Wilson "wanted to step back."

"While I am disappointed by this decision," he wrote, "I respect his intent and have asked him to work with me, not only to find his replacement but also to transition with that person to ensure that, as a company, we don't miss a beat on the execution of our content strategy."

For Mr. Eun, it's a homecoming of sorts. Mr. Eun was a top deputy of Don Logan at Time Warner overseeing AOL until he left for Google in 2006. Prior to Time Warner, Mr. Eun worked in venture capital and as an executive at NBC.

Mr. Eun will oversee the company's 87 websites; its Seed.com publishing platform, which farms out assignments to freelance writers and other content producers; and the newly acquired StudioNow video operation.

Mr. Armstrong said hiring Mr. Eun won't change AOL's strategy, which is focused on producing content internally as well as licensing in order to build audience and sell more display advertising.

"I think Dave brings us the broadest exposure to the content business," Mr. Armstrong said. "We are hoping to have a multifaceted content approach, all based on quality."

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