Focus on other interests
Leonsis, 50, said the move will allow him to invest more energy in various interests, like his majority stake in the NHL's Washington Capitals, and his minority stake in the NBA's Washington Wizards. Leonsis is also producer of the yet-to-be-released documentary "The Rape of Nanking."
"I have other interests calling out to me, and I felt the time was right to pursue them," Leonsis said.
Additional management changes are expected shortly as AOL focuses its efforts on boosting ad revenue. AOL is not expected to name a replacement.
Leonsis joined AOL in 1993, when AOL acquired Redgate Communications Corp., which he founded. Redgate -- considered one of the first new-media marketing companies -- participated in launches of the Apple Macintosh, the IBM PC, as well as launching four computing magazines.
AOL's leadership had nothing but kind words for their long-time colleague upon Monday's announcement. "Ted Leonsis helped build AOL, not once, but twice," said AOL Chairman and CEO Jonathan Miller. "The first time was in the 1990s, when Ted and AOL literally helped get America online. A second time began in 2002, with Ted as the driving force behind AOL's dramatic shift from a dial-up ISP to a web-services business."