AOL's memo on sales team layoffs: this may make you 'uncomfortable'

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AOL global CEO of platforms Bob Lord.

AOL announced Friday it was making at least 150 layoffs across its advertising sales team as the business shifts its strategy to programmatic advertising, which relies less on human sellers. Elsewhere it is also consolidating some websites, such as folding gaming site Joystiq and Apple news site TUAW into Engadget.

Now AOL is seeking to reassure advertising clients that despite the cuts and move to automation, it still has their best interests at heart. A source close to the company told Business Insider last week: "They're keeping most account managers, while firing many sellers, leaving the account managers vulnerable to abuse in the operations group, with no sales management behind them any more. Clients will be enraged that this team is left to pick up the pieces."

Meanwhile another source at one of the world's biggest media agencies had told Business Insider: "

"The good people have been eking out and going elsewhere since before Christmas, so writing on the wall maybe."

Business Insider has received a copy of a memo AOL's global CEO of platforms Bob Lord sent to advertising clients on Monday.

In it he explains how AOL has developed a "multidisciplinary team structure" that will help clients "navigate industry disruption more proactively and holistically."

Here's the memo, entitled "AOL Organizational Updates, in full:

Media and technology are drastically evolving to keep up with today's consumer. The lines are becoming blurred, and as you well know, our industry is converging at a faster pace than anyone predicted.

That intersection is where AOL has been focused for some time. We've made it our mission to simplify the internet for consumers and creators with culture and code. The duality of this strategy is not only paramount to our philosophy as a company, but also to our daily operations and how we manage our client relationships. We are committed to providing brands and agencies with best in class content and programmatic solutions across all platforms, increasing our investments and expertise in both areas and establishing a more unified go to market approach.

As such, I am pleased to share that after working over the past several months to ensure our organization is tightly connected with market needs, we have developed a new multidisciplinary team structure that aligns to your business and will help you navigate industry disruption more proactively and holistically. This team is comprised of content and programmatic experts, helping you shape integrated advertising programs through our open, self-service tools, as well as premium, original content solutions.

I realize that this change may mean a shift in the core AOL team on your business and that may initially feel uncomfortable; however, please know that your needs are at the heart of this transformation. We are undergoing this transition to be better equipped to support your unique business objectives from end to end. As you work with your AOL team members, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my sales leadership team, ?Jim Norton and Don Kennedy, with any questions or feedback.

Thank you for your continued partnership-here's to 2015 and beyond.


Bob Lord

President, AOL Inc.

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