Greg Coleman to oversee AOL's ad sales

Yahoo vet becomes third Platform-A chief in two years

AOL has turned to a more traditional online sales executive to help revive its flagging advertising efforts, installing Yahoo veteran Greg Coleman as the new president of Platform-A.

Coleman's hiring makes him the third head of Platform-A in less than two years. He replaces Lynda Clarizio, the former head of Advertising.com, whose tenure lasted less than a year. A former law partner, Clarizio had replaced one-time Tacoda CEO Curt Viebranz in March, after he had been on the job just five months.

Based on this move, it appears as though AOL is turning away from the technology-centric, ad network side of the business for its leadership needs and instead going with an executive who is well-versed in selling to traditional brands.

Coleman, most recently president and CEO of the start-up NetSeer, was executive vp global sales at Yahoo from 2001-07, a period when the company was seen by many as the premier online ad seller. His much-respected sales team included former chief advertising sales officer Wenda Harris Millard, now the co-CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

Despite launching a slew of successful new properties and demonstrating consistent traffic growth, AOL's ad revenue has declined even as the online ad industry has grown. According to a recent JPMorgan estimate, AOL's ad revenue dipped 18% in 2008.
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