Susan Lyne Exits AOL Brand Group to Run Company's Venture Fund

Susan Lyne Headshot - H 2014
Courtesy of Forbes

Susan Lyne Headshot - H 2014

She's looking to invest in female-fronted startups

Susan Lyne is stepping down as CEO of AOL's brand group to run a venture fund within the New York media firm. 

The BBG Fund will invest in early-stage funding rounds for startups led by women. Recode, which first reported Lyne's move, says that the fund will contain between $10 million and $12 million.

"In my new role, I am looking forward to contributing in a different way," said Lyne, who will lead the fund as president. "We have a huge megaphone at AOL so we can have an outsized impact on the way girls and women perceive their options, and on the breadth of entrepreneurial ideas that have a chance to compete. But this is also good business: Women are the majority of users on the fastest-growing sites and services on the Internet. We believe we can get strong returns by focusing on entrepreneurs who know the customer best."

Lyne is a longtime media executive who ran Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and spent two years as president of ABC Entertainment. She joined AOL in March last year to strengthen the company's partnerships with advertisers and publishers. Prior to that she ran flash sales website Gilt Groupe for a little more than two years. Lyne remains chair of the Gilt board. 

Lyne will report to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong in her new role. She will be replaced in the brand group by media brands presidents Luke Beatty, who will oversee the tech, automobile and entertainment brands, and Maureen Sullivan, who will continue to run and its lifestyle and money brands. Arianna Huffington and Jimmy Maymann will continue to run The Huffington Post.

"Susan has done an excellent job in her time at AOL at a board and operating level, and we are excited to be putting her vast skills and expertise to work to replicate this success at The BBG Fund," said Armstrong. "AOL has a strong track record of investing in women and women's leadership, and we are adding to our investments in the most important space for women entrepreneurs."

Sept. 2, 2:17 p.m. Updated with additional details about the fund from AOL and statements from Lyne and Armstrong.