Tim Armstrong Lays Out Leadership Team for Combined AOL, Yahoo

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AOL CEO Tim Armstrong

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and other high-profile executives from the internet company are not among those named in Armstrong's memo to staff.

As Verizon prepares to close its acquisition of Yahoo, the team that will run the newly combined AOL-Yahoo division has been put in place. 

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong on Thursday sent a memo to staff, which The Hollywood Reporter has obtained, that laid out the plan for the new company, to be called Oath. 

The new leadership team will be made up of a mix of AOL and Yahoo executives. Among the Yahoo execs staying with the company after the merger are Jeff Bonforte, who will lead communications, data and search; Simon Khalaf, who will lead media brands and products; and Joe DeVine, who will lead global sales and customer operations. 

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who is widely expected to leave Yahoo after the sale is closed, is not named in the email. Neither are CFO Ken Goldman, CRO Lisa Utzschneider and several senior vice presidents including Adam Cahan, who oversaw product and engineering, and Enrique Munoz Torres, who led product for search and advertising. 

Armstrong notes in his email that the new company will also create a tech ad council that will include Yahoo co-founder David Filo. 

 Armstrong teased the creation of Oath in a tweet in early April. In his note, he writes that the new company wants "leaders who care about every position and every function." He also explains that the leadership team "is expected to drive technology, data and platforms into all areas of our operations."

Last year, facing pressure from investors, Yahoo announced that it would pursue a sale of its core internet assets as a way to separate the business from its lucrative stake in Alibaba. Verizon emerged as the winner after a months-long bidding process and agreed to pay $4.8 billion to acquire Yahoo. But the subsequent disclosure of two large security breaches at Yahoo have delayed the process. Verizon is ultimately going forward with the sale, paying a reduced price of $4.48 billion for the company. 

Here is Armstrong's full memo, which was first reported by Recode

Team,

Even though we are not yet closed, the management teams from both companies have been busy planning for the future. Today, we are taking our first important steps forward in our journey together by setting three simple post-closing objectives:

1. Build global brands people love

2. Build global brand platforms partners love

3. Build a global company talent loves‎

Driving these objectives post-close will be the job of our leaders – and you. The go-forward leadership team was selected on the following principles:

1. Built for Talent: Talented people are attracted to environments where they can have an impact, are able to use all of their talents, produce great work, and be challenged. Our leadership team puts talent first and is expected to build an amazing cast while they build an amazing performance. We want leaders who care about every position and every function. Leaders make talented people more talented – and they enjoy that process. 

2. Built on Technology: While all the skills on the team are critical, we want to compete on digital foundations of technology and product. We are leaning into a leadership team that is technically enabled. Most companies in the world are trying to move their businesses to technology-enabled platforms – we are already there and we are going to double down. The executive team is expected to drive technology, data, and platforms into all areas of our operations.  

3. Built for Brands: We operate and partner with some of the most powerful brands in the world. Brands and brand platforms will become increasingly important as technology scales – brands create a trust factor for the human experience. From award-winning journalists on the front lines of brands like HuffPost or Yahoo News to the engineers ensuring trustworthy platforms like Flurry, BrightRoll and ONE, everyone is responsible for building brands – our brands and partner brands. We are looking for leaders that can drive impact in the consumer and customer marketplace. As the famous coach John Wooden said, “Never mistake activity for achievement.” We want achievement leaders who will grow brands and platforms in the marketplace. Between now and the close of the deal, the leadership team will be planning the strategy and structure to drive our three objectives.

Here is our go-forward leadership team post-close:

Jeff Bonforte, Communications, Data and Search
Simon Khalaf, Media Brands and Products
Tim Mahlman, Programmatic Ad Tech Platforms
Ralf Jacob, Digital Media Services Platforms
John DeVine, Global Sales and Customer Operations
Allie Kline, Marketing and Communications
Atte 
Lahtiranta, Technology
Holly Hess, Finance
Tim Lemmon, Operations & Search Partnerships
Bob Toohey, Human Resources
Julie Jacobs, Legal
Mark Roszkowski, Corporate Development, Strategy and Global Partnerships
Nate Kanefield, Chief of Staff

Engineering and technology systems are a critical organization and we will use engineering leadership to help us future-ready the company post close. We are asking David Filo, Jay Rossiter, Atte Lahtiranta, Laurie Mann, and Bill Pence to design and create an expanded tech council that, starting at close, will review all aspects of the company and implement technology enabled solutions as well as global technical standards.

Additionally, given our growth objectives, it is critical that we have a set of regional leaders post-close that both localize our global go to market strategy and help set the overall strategy for deeper expansions into global markets. Rose Tsou, the current Yahoo head of Asia-Pacific, will lead our combined APAC operations. The Americas and EMEA leadership structures are still in planning phase and will be announced as soon as possible. Our APAC, EMEA, and Americas market leaders will report to John DeVine.   

Many of you will have questions about next steps and we want to do everything we can within the pre-close limits to answer them.

On May 3 (1 PM EST / 10 AM PST), I will host a live stream to talk through a high level summary of our go-forward strategy process and our next steps before the anticipated closing in Q2. Most of the time will be spent answering questions which anyone can submit here: AOLYahoo.

Given we are still pre-close, this meeting is optional for AOLers and Yahoos – everyone is welcome and we will make the video available on AOL’s Inside and Yahoo’s Backyard (available for 24 hours) shortly after. The full strategy and structure will be reviewed at the close of the deal. 

Both executive teams are working incredibly hard on planning the integration of the companies, and I would like to thank everyone who is helping us take the necessary steps to set the combined company up for the next part of our journey.  

- TA

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