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The holiday season brings changes to AOL

AOL is no stranger to upheavel, especially to its division, which eliminated roughly 450 employees over the last few months. A flurry of activity continues at AOL with a changing of the guard and new partnerships on the horizon. Here’s a look at some of the recent changes:

  • Earlier this week, it was reported that AOL executive and co-founder Jon Brod is leaving the company for a startup. He served in a number of roles with the company since AOL bought Patch in 2009, including overseeing MapQuest and serving as chief operating officer of Huffington Post Media Group. In his most recent role, he headed up AOL Ventures.
  • Roughly 20 layoffs hit AOL last week, with the majority being from’s homepage editorial crew, reported. This comes on the heels of Brian Balthazar joining the company to oversee content strategy for the homepage. He was most recently an executive at HGTV.  AOL marketing executive Maureen Sullivan was appointed to manage in October.
  • AOL editor in chief Cindy Stivers is reportedly leaving the company, but noted that the exit most likely wouldn’t happen until the New Year.
  • Also leaving AOL is Anthony Duignan-Cabrera, vice president of editorial at Patch, reported Duignan-Cabrera joined Patch in 2010 as editorial director for sites on the East Coast. He was promoted in May to oversee all editorial direction. Prior to joining AOL, he served as an editorial director at CNN Travel.
  • According to, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has stopped claiming that will be profitable by the end of the year, but a partnership of some kind is reportedly in the works for 2014. Armstrong did say, however, that Patch revenue has went up since the roughly 900 sites were gutted over the last year.
  • The Huffington Post, which is owned by AOL, is increasingly going solo in its latest endeavors, reported AdWeek. The latest is a stand-alone ad sales force, with an additional 30 employees coming in the New Year to sell native advertising. The new hires will join HuffPost Partner Studio, a division launched earlier this year that creates content for brands.The New Year will no doubt hold many twists as AOL changes it up, and many eyes will turn toward to see what the future holds for the hyperlocal chain of sites. Unfortunately, layoffs never bode well for any media organization.


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