AOL deletes 700 staffers in refocus

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Time Warner's AOL unit is laying off 700 staffers, or about 10% of its work force, as the Internet division narrows its focus on three core areas and tries to weather the recession.

In addition, AOL is forgoing merit pay increases this year, curbing discretionary spending and concentrating investments on key growth areas.

It is the latest round of job cuts at AOL as CEO Randy Falco and his team continue to refocus the business. It also comes after recent layoff news from other major TW units, such as its film and magazine divisions.

TW chairman and CEO Jeffrey Bewkes has made it a key theme that all businesses should be more efficient and profitable, but he has left it to division heads to figure out how to do that.

AOL pink slips will be delivered during the coming quarters, with U.S. cuts to be done by April 1. The reductions will affect staff across the board and in various locations, sources said. However, three core areas management is focusing on will be the least hit: advertising, publishing/ Web sites and social networks.

Falco said in a memo to employees Wednesday that "our goal in doing (these job cuts) is to provide our core businesses the resources they need to thrive." (partialdiff)
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