An announcement concerning his appointment could come as early as Sept. 13.
The group had been run by President Myer Berlow until he took a significantly reduced role within the company in the spring.
That internal global marketing operation was charged with assembling the big-bang cross-media deals that company said it would execute in the wake of its January 2001 merger. But some marketers felt such deals underdelivered, and they expressed frustration about involvement with them. Mr. Berlow's hard-charging style was said to rankle those inside and outside the organization.
An AOL Time Warner spokesman declined to comment.
Since Mr. Berlow's departure from the global marketing group, it has been run by its chief operating officer, Julie Kantrowitz, who was expected to remain with the group.
Retooling has begun
A company insider suggested that a retooled global marketing group under a new leader would become more like a business-development unit focusing more on
Mr. Kelly, 45, left Entertainment Weekly in March 2000 and founded American Town Network, a Web provider of community information for 52 towns in the suburbs of Boston, Detroit and New York. In late April, the network announced a partnership with AOL.
Mr. Kelly did not respond to calls by press time this evening.
Chain of command
Mr. Kelly is expected to report directly to Don Logan, the former chairman-CEO of Time Inc. who in July became chairman of the company's Media and Communications Group, with oversight of both AOL and Time Inc. Previously, the reporting structure was more complex, with Mr. Berlow reporting to AOL Time Warner's Executive Vice President Mayo Stuntz, who then reported to former Chief Operating Officer Bob Pittman.
Mr. Kelly enjoys a strong reputation among his former colleagues. Insiders across the media giant suggested that Mr. Kelly's experience -- which encompasses a print product that dealt frequently with movie, music and TV marketers as well as his foray into the online world -- mesh well with the portfolio of AOL Time Warner's properties.
The move comes on the heels of a comprehensive reorganization of AOL announced today by its new CEO, Jon Miller.
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Wayne Friedman contributed to this report.