Falco shuffles ranks at AOL

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NEW YORK -- AOL unveiled a streamlined organizational structure Monday under its new CEO, Randy Falco.

In his first major move since coming over from NBC Universal in November to run the Time Warner division, Falco shook up the management ranks and reassigned responsibilities leftover from the departure of five senior execs first reported Friday, including AOL programming czar Jim Bankoff.

Replacing Bankoff, executive vp consumer and publisher services, will be his former deputy, Bill Wilson, who was named head of AOL programming. Most of Bankoff's deputies and responsibilities will now go to Wilson, according to an AOL spokesman, who did not elaborate on which ventures he won't oversee.

In addition, executive vp products, marketing and distribution Kevin Conroy will expand his responsibilities, taking on AOL's Instant Messenger product, formerly Bankoff's responsibility, and mobile devices.

"Having reviewed the structure of the organization, (president and chief operating officer) Ron (Grant) and I believe that it can be tighter, clearer and better focused on operations," Falco wrote in a memo to AOL employees circulated Monday. "We believe there can be more clarity and accountability built into the organization."

Wilson and Conroy will report to Grant, a veteran Time Warner exec who was named president and chief operating officer of AOL shortly after Falco's arrival. Grant also oversees the advertising aspect of AOL, still run by Mike Kelly, head of AOL Media Networks.

Grant in turn reports to Falco, as do the heads of finance, legal, human resources and other divisions. AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis also will report to Falco, as will Tricia Primrose Wallace, who was promoted to head of corporate communications.

AOL signaled that it is searching for candidates to fill vacancies at top posts, including chief marketing officer, head of international operations and head of platforms.

Wilson, who has been at AOL for four years, was senior vp and general manager of AOL programming, where he oversaw much of the company's content. Before that, he was a senior executive at AOL Music. He will assume most of Bankoff's programming duties, including content partnerships like TMZ.com, and many of the former vp's deputies now will report to Wilson.

Bankoff, who was responsible for much of the portal's content, including the Emmy-winning broadcast of 2005's Live 8 charity concert and celebrity Web site TMZ.com, will leave the company after 11 years. Also leaving are Joe Redling, president of AOL Mobile, customer management and paid services and chairman and CEO of AOL International; John Buckley, executive vp corporate communications; John McKinley, chief technology officer; and Randy Boe, general counsel and executive vp.

Conroy oversees a variety of products at AOL, ranging from AOL Video to "Gold Rush," the interactive game AOL produced in tandem with "Survivor" executive producer Mark Burnett. Conroy has been with the company since 2001; both he and Wilson joined AOL from BMG Entertainment Worldwide, where both were marketing execs (Wilson reported to Conroy).

This restructuring is the latest in a major shake-up at the portal. In August, the company announced a move to a new advertiser-supported business model, and since then it has tapped Falco, former president of NBC Universal Television Group, to be the new CEO. It also has laid off 2,200 employees in the U.S., working toward reducing their work force by 26% by year's end.
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