AOL's Troubles Mount, Garlinghouse Reportedly Exits

Despite its continued display ad turnaround, AOL’s lingering troubles were put on display this week with the reported exit of Brad Garlinghouse.

President of AOL’s applications and commerce group, and head of its Silicon Valley operations, Garlinghouse came on in 2009 to help revive growth at the struggling Web giant.

AOL CFO Artie Minson is expected to take over Garlinghouse’s responsibilities, at least on an interim basis. 

Despite multiple press requests, AOL had no comment on Garlinghouse’s reported departure on Thursday. 

Garlinghouse previously worked at Yahoo, where he famously penned a critical memo to management. In what came to be known as the “Peanut Butter Manifesto,” Garlinghouse said Yahoo had spread itself too thinly across many businesses. 

GigaOm’s Om Malik, who broke the news this week, suggested that Garlinghouse felt his division, including mobile products, was being overlooked by the company’s content- and media-obsessed management.

Earlier this month, AOL reported an 8% jump in third-quarter ad sales, which it attributed to a dual strategy of third-party network sales and enhanced premium display advertising sales related to its so-called “Project Devil” initiative.

While the ad revenue surge came amid a third-quarter earnings release showing a 6% decline in AOL’s total revenues, the drop could mostly be attributed to non-advertising sales-related areas and its Web access subscriptions business in particular.

Upon David Eun’s departure at the beginning of the year, Minson was tapped to oversee paid services, along with corporate marketing, while Brad Garlinghouse was expected to oversee the company's commerce efforts.

Separately, Sarah Lacy, a senior editor at TechCrunch -- the technology blog that AOL bought last year -- is also heading for the door, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing a source. 

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