paidContent has learned that AOL (NYSE: TWX) Chief Marketing Officer John Burbank is leaving, less than a year after he arrived, to take on the newly-created CMO role at The Nielsen Company. Kevin Conroy, currently AOL’s EVP, products, will take on additional marketing duties and will hold on to his current title. Before coming to AOL in 2001 to build AOL Music, Conroy was CMO for new technology at BMG Entertainment. Burbank joined AOL last June, replacing Joseph Redling who then went to work for weight-loss company NutriSystem. Before coming to AOL, Burbank was VP, marketing for AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless and then AT&T (NYSE: T). He joins Nielsen on May 9. A release is now out here.
— Update: Burbank’s decision to go to Nielsen reflects changes that have been occurring at both companies for the past year or so. When Burbank joined AOL, the company was in the middle of transitioning from a company that mainly was in the business of providing dial-up internet access to one that is more focused on creating a network of free content channels – as evidenced by its acquisition of football fantasy site Fleaflicker for AOL Sports – and selling advertising through its network of companies. Since then, AOL insiders say, the role of CMO has changed somewhat.
Meanwhile, Nielsen has been working on integrating its research services. According to a draft of Nielsen’s release, the new CMO post calls for Burbank to head up the company’s strategic marketing, business development, market insights, brand development, communications and the Orwellian sounding “knowledge management” functions. His role at AOL was not as extensive, one reason he accepted the new post. Still, this is the latest in a string of departures from AOL, which last week began laying off 100 staffers across its Platform-A advertising network.