Tim Armstrong to Step Down as CEO of Oath

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Tim Armstrong

Former Alibaba executive K. Guru Gowrappan will run the asset that includes AOL, Yahoo and HuffPo.

Tim Armstrong will step down as CEO of Oath, the digital-media arm of Verizon that includes such assets as AOL, Yahoo, TechCrunch and HuffPost on Oct. 1 and be replaced by K. Guru Gowrappan, a former Alibaba executive who has been COO at Oath since April.

Gowrappan will report to Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg and Armstrong will stay on as an adviser for the remainder of the year, reporting to Lowell McAdam, the board chairman.

Verizon's announcement confirms reports last week that the telecom company and Armstrong were negotiating a parting of the ways. 

Armstrong joined Verizon when it acquired the company he was running, AOL, for $4.4 billion in 2015. He then encouraged Verizon to buy Yahoo for $4.5 billion, then combine the two into an entity called Oath.

More recently, though, Verizon has pumped the breaks a bit on its desire to be a player in content, digital and otherwise, even kicking the tires on CBS before deciding not to make an acquisition offer, a strategy that made it more difficult for Armstrong to achieve his ultimate goal of growing Oath into a powerhouse that could compete with Facebook and Google.

Armstrong also floated the notion of Verizon spinning off Oath as a separately traded company, though that idea has so far been nixed.

“Guru has proven experience in scaling businesses globally," said Vestberg. "I’m thrilled he will lead Oath in an exciting new phase of growth, building on the foundation Tim and his team have created by delivering brands our customers love.”