Another executive move at AOL (NYSE: AOL), which has seen a fair few of them in the last several months: the company today announced that it has promoted Jim Norton to the position of head of sales, effectively immediately. Norton takes the place once held by Jeff Levick, the ex-Google (NSDQ: GOOG) executive who left amid a group of other executive changes.
Norton will report to Ned Brody, who was put into the new role of chief revenue officer at the same time that Levick left the company. (Levick is now in charge of sales at Spotify.)
AOL says that Brody will oversee sales on all of AOL’s owned and operated web properties, which includes high-traffic, ad-led sites like the Huffington Post, Engadget, Styleist and MapQuest. Curiously TechCrunch was left out of the list — but it is presumably included, too.
Other responsibilities will include sales for some of AOL’s other marketing initiatives, such as Project Devil, video and mobile sales.
This is a big job and arguably one of the most important, given how much the company’s business model relies on advertising around its content. Also, it’s no surprise to see AOL making an internal appoint for the role this time, choosing someone who has had experience overseeing various divisions within ad sales at the company. That’s one way to look at it, at least. The other is that he has held a lot of different jobs since joining the company in 2009. Most recently, Norton was SVP, AOL Advertising’s Advance Sales team, focusing on national and regional advertisers across all categories. Roles before that include VP of Product Sales and overseeing AOL’s Search and Sponsored Listings business, and helping launch AOL’s self service advertising platform, Ad Desk. He joined AOL from Google.
It will be interesting to see whether Norton will run things in a “business as usual” way or if he has some ideas for change. The company had a mixed bag of results for ad sales in its last quarterly earnings reported in November: display and third-party advertising were both up, but search ads revenue declined, and ads on its own sites, the biggest ad business of all for AOL, was nearly level with the year before, rising by only one percent to $221.8 million.