Bebo tells us Joanna Shields’ leaving was her own decision, but the president of the social network and the AOL (NYSE: TWX) People Networks division which is based upon would surely have known change was coming.
It was only recently that AOL had restructured in to three units – Mediaglow (content), Platform-A (advertising) and People Networks (social), the division including AIM, ICQ and Socialthing that Shields had been building in Bebo’s image. But Time Warner on Thursday confirmed it would spin off AOL, which will now undergo another reorg.
But an AllThingsD insider says Bebo, along with other AOL acquisitions, will be “relocated” in to a new “AOL Ventures” unit, which itself will seek investment for them. That would signal an end to People Networks’ idea of threading social media glue throughout AOL’s properties, much of which had already been achieved by linking AIM, ICQ and Bebo accounts by this point anyway. Shields is returning to London. AOL UK wasn’t able to tell us how the latest reorg will affect it.