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Google's Agency-Relations Director Departs for AOL

Erin Clift Will Head Global Sales Development at Struggling Portal

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Google is set to lose another trusted Madison Avenue ambassador: North American Director of Agency Relations Erin Clift will join AOL this month under her former colleague and newly minted CEO Tim Armstrong.

In her new post as senior VP-global sales development at AOL, Ms. Clift will be expected to boost category sales in areas such as finance, retail and consumer package goods and oversee global revenue expansion -- with a particular eye toward Europe. Given her background, she'll also be largely responsible for helping AOL bolster its agency programs.

Jeff Levick, AOL's head of global advertising sales strategy and other former Google exec, said the company's working toward a goal of becoming "the easiest partner for agencies to work with."

Ms. Clift's defection to AOL comes after a seven-year run at Google. She and Mr. Armstrong were among the most visible leaders of a 50-person group Google amassed in recent times to stem a sense of mistrust among shops fretting the search giant was out to displace agencies and steal their clients' business.

Ms. Clift helped to create Google's various strategies for befriending agencies, such as nationwide agency tours, a free certification program to educate agency employees on web analytics, and a suite of free tools such as its "Display Ad Builder" and "Website Optimizer."

Her departure coincides with a recent sales reorganization at Google and a change in duties for Penry Price, former VP-ad sales for the North America region. Mr. Price, who is well-known and respected among agencies and marketers, is heading global outreach to the agency community and industry associations.

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