AOL Picks Martha Stewart Veteran “Janet Balis” To Head Sales Strategy

October 20, 2011 0

New York — AOL Inc., late Tuesday appointed veteran executive Janet Balis to head its sales strategy, marketing and partnerships for AOL Advertising.

The move comes as AOL attempts to make a reversal through acquisitions including the news website Huffington Post and technology blog TechCrunch.

Moving forward with her Cross-Platform Media Experience to AOL Advertising, in her new capacity, Balis will be mainly responsible for managing AOL Advertising’s products and services, along with handling marketing and sales strategy across the full sales offering, including video, social, premium display and mobile formats as well as participating in a critical front-line role with top clients and agencies.

She will also be controlling for contributing to advertising partnerships that bring forward new, innovative opportunities for brand marketers, with a focus on integrated, cross-platform solutions. Besides, she will be reporting directly to Ned Brody, Chief Revenue Officer at AOL, Balis will also be expected to work closely with top ad clients and agencies and formulate innovative ad partnerships. Her first day will be October 24.

Interestingly, this is something of a coming-back for Balis, who worked as SVP, sales development for AOL from 2004 to 2007, where she handled the national team responsible for developing marketing solutions for clients.

But today’s AOL, however, is altogether different when Balis left the company in 2007. Now an independent entity — having severed ties with Time Warner in 2009 — the new AOL continues to position itself as a content leader, while rumors swirl of a possible sale or merger.

“We are delighted to welcome Janet back to AOL to become a part of the advertising leadership group as we continue to collaborate with our clients and agencies to create cutting-edge strategic marketing solutions,” said Brody, Chief Revenue Officer, AOL. Acknowledged for driving creative large scale ideas, Janet is an award-winning professional in the industry and has been a strategic partner to many world-class brands. Janet has years of experience not only in marketing and sales strategy, but also sales management and creative development, Brody added.

He continued, “Her expertise represents a strong complement to our advertising leadership team and will undoubtedly be an asset for our business.”

Balis, whose official designation will be head of sales strategy, marketing and partnerships, most recently managed the media sales and marketing unit at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where she was responsible for ad sales revenue across television, magazines, radio and digital media.

“I cannot envisage a better moment to be rejoining AOL,” said Balis. “AOL’s commitment to best-in-class, original content and highly innovative technology offers tremendous opportunity in the advertising marketplace. I am excited to work with the team to capitalize on the full potential of AOL’s offering on behalf of leading brand marketers, developing high impact ideas and solutions.”

Last month, AOL chief Tim Armstrong confirmed retaining two big M&A specialists — investment banker Allen & Co, and law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz — but mentioned that there were currently no deals on the table. He says AOL’s strategy has not changed.

Apart from serving AOL from 2004 to 2007, Balis also spent over five years at Time Inc., where she led digital sales and marketing across the division’s web sites. Earlier in her career, she spent time at both Goldman Sachs and A.T. Kearney.

Balis holds a BA from Columbia College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She was named a 2010 Women to Watch by Advertising Age and a 2006 Crains Top 40 Under 40.

Shares were recently off 2.5% at $13.99 after hours. The stock had fallen 45% over the past 12 months through the close.