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Online media company AOL confirmed Thursday that it has hired former ABC and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia top executive Susan Lyne as CEO of its content brands, except for the Huffington Post group.
Lyne used to run ABC Entertainment and then was CEO of Martha Stewart Living. Most recently, she has served as vice chairman of online retailer Gilt Groupe, a role that she will continue. She has served on the AOL board since 2009.
As AOL’s content head, she will oversee all content brands, such as TechCrunch, Engadget and StyleList, except for the Huffington Post Media Group that is run by Arianna Huffington. Lyne’s portfolio of brands reaches more than 100 million consumers globally. Her appointment was first reported by AllThingsD.
“Lyne’s convergence of experience, encompassing media, television and the digital industry, will be particularly valuable to AOL,” the company said. Added AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong: “Susan has a proven track record of brand building and aggressive growth. I know she’ll bring that same drive and growth-oriented mentality to our brand group.”
The company’s financials have shown signs of a turnaround. For example, AOL in February posted its first quarterly revenue gain in eight years. “We expect Susan to help build on this momentum and take our brands to the next level,” Armstrong said.
“In my three years as an AOL board member, I have partnered with Tim Armstrong and my fellow directors to help drive the company’s transformation and have seen AOL make great strides as it continues to innovate, grow and evolve,” Lyne said. “I’m looking forward to contributing to the company’s continued evolution in my new role and will focus on creating additional value with all of AOL’s premium brands. Our efforts center on making all of our brands true destinations for audiences worldwide and to provide marketers with innovative opportunities to connect with these audiences.”
The company said Lyne would focus on increasing traffic across properties, maximizing partnerships with advertisers and publishers and “attracting top talent, with a particular focus on content, design, programming and product.”
Meanwhile, COO Artie Minson will leave AOL as Armstrong continues to focus on decentralizing the company. He will stay on during a transition period.
“I came back to AOL 3½ years ago with the goal of returning AOL to being a growth company,” said Minson. “With that accomplished, I have decided to stay and continue to work closely with Tim during this transition period. I look forward to AOL’s continued success.”
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