Oath CEO Tim Armstrong will depart Oath at the end of the year, Verizon announced earlier this week, on Wednesday. Oath President and COO K. Guru Gowrappan will assume the management responsibilities as chief executive effective October 1, the company said in a press release.
It’s an unlikely appointment, but telling in terms of Oath’s future. During an interview on Thursday, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told David Faber of CNBS that the company just developed an ad-tech platform. He called it a very important move for the entire Verizon brand.
“I think we are at the moment where we now have put all of these [assets] together, and we see the benefits of all of that,” Vestberg said. “So we [are] going to execute on that. And of course, we have high ambitions in this area. And I think that this transition is supporting that and the team has done a great job.”
Gowrappan, a newcomer to the telecom, has been at Oath for six months. Unlike Armstrong, he is known for his operational skill and quiet execution. Prior to joining Oath he worked as a global managing director at the Alibaba Group for three years, focusing on international expansion for key consumer and enterprise products across ecommerce, entertainment and media, payments and the entire commerce-enabling stack.
As COO, he spent a little more than three years at Quixey, a search engine that allowed users to find content within apps. He also held the position of COO for growth and emerging initiatives at Zynga, and held several leadership roles at Yahoo and Overture.
Armstrong had a following. He joined AOL in 2009 and was named Oath's CEO in 2017. He has led Verizon's digital media and online advertising platform business, and supported the growth of consumer brands such as AOL, Yahoo, RYOT, TechCrunch, HuffPost, MAKERS and many others.
Effective immediately, Armstrong becomes a strategic adviser, reporting to Verizon Chairman Lowell McAdam to help the management transition.