Greg Coleman Makes First Personnel Moves at AOL

Don Kennedy Steps Down as Head of Sales at Platform-A

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Greg Coleman, the new president of AOL's Platform-A, is beginning to make his first internal changes.

Greg Coleman
Greg Coleman Credit: AOL
Don Kennedy, an Advertising.com veteran who headed ad sales at Platform-A, is stepping down as head of sales, and Mr. Coleman will take on his role in the interim until a new sales deputy can be hired.

Mike Peralta, another Advertising.com vet to whom all the regional Platform-A salespeople reported, is leaving. Until a replacement is hired, Mark Ellis, an AOL.com veteran, will assume Mr. Peralta's direct reports.

The changes are not altogether surprising, as the two execs, who were highly successful at Ad.com, were deputies of former Platform-A sales chief Lynda Clarizio, who herself had taken on the larger role at Platform-A role after helming Advertising.com. (A similar reorganization happened when Lynda Clarizio took over Platform-A from Tacoda CEO Curt Veibranz and several Tacoda execs left.) Mr. Coleman replaced Ms. Clarizio earlier this month.

Another likely reason for Don Kennedy's move: He lives and works in Baltimore, where Ad.com is headquartered, and it's believed Mr. Coleman wants a New York-based head of sales.

Some executives familiar with AOL's situation have suggested that the company's problems stem from AOL having combined the sales team that sold the owned and operated inventory on AOL.com with the more performance-oriented sales team of Ad.com and called on the Ad.com executives to run it. Those execs had little experience selling to major brand advertisers, and that side of the business dropped off.

Mr. Coleman, who has been in the role for nine days, is moving quickly --and he needs to. Ad sales at AOL were down 18% to $113 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, and display-ad revenue was down 25% in the quarter. Mr. Coleman is expected to hold a series of meetings next week to try to figure out his new structure.

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