NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Continuing the flurry of changes at AOL in the past several months, Platform-A President Greg Coleman is leaving the company and being replaced by former Google executive Jeff Levick. Mr. Levick will be the new head of global advertising sales strategy, reporting directly to his former Google boss, now AOL's chairman-CEO, Tim Armstrong.
It was only a month before Mr. Armstrong's appointment that Mr. Coleman made his first major changes to the ad-sales team. Mr. Coleman formerly headed global ad-sales at Yahoo before a stint as CEO of search technology company NetSeer.
It was an unusual arrangement: Mr. Coleman had been brought on in early February to head AOL's sales arm, called Platform-A, by former AOL CEO Randy Falco, who was replaced in March by Mr. Armstrong. Messrs. Armstrong and Coleman professed to be fine with the situation, but it's hardly surprising Mr. Armstrong decided to bring in his own sales deputy.
Only yesterday Messrs. Coleman and Armstrong addressed AOL employees in an earnings briefing after the market closed, and today some members of AOL's management team are headed to Canada, where the company will officially launch Platform-A north of the border. Messrs. Armstrong and Coleman were expected to be among that group.
There has been much speculation -- focused more on when than if -- about Time Warner spinning off AOL. Mr. Armstrong has been keeping mum on the subject. Earlier this week, he addressed AOL's potential, and whether he had come to the company as a Trojan horse to clean it up and flip it to Google ("N-O, no"), with Ad Age Editor Jonah Bloom at the 4A's Leadership Conference. (The interview can be seen here.)
At Google, Mr. Levick was VP-industry development and marketing in the Americas region, largely responsible for the Google ad-sales teams organized by industry category, such as consumer package goods, autos and finance. A former mergers-and-acquisitions lawyer, he joined Google seven years ago and was based in Chicago.
In a statement, Mr. Levick praised AOL's potential. "This is a perfect time to join AOL, and I firmly believe that AOL's best days are ahead of it. The company has one of the largest and most engaged audiences on the web, some of the best advertising technology in the business, and a powerful third-party network. There is great opportunity here for us to capture."