New York -- The Googlization of AOL's top brasses continues. AOL, the struggling Internet unit of Time Warner, on Tuesday announced the appointment of another Googler veteran… The latest is former YouTube monetization head “Shashi Seth,” who will now serve as SVP for Global Ad Products at AOL.
In his new position, Seth will be responsible for managing the company's sprawling family of advertising and monetization technologies, where he will be entrusted with building and scaling AOL's advertising platform and developing new products. He will also have global oversight of Advertising.com and the company's other display ad products. He will report to Jeff Levick, president of global advertising strategy. Levick himself is a recent recruit from Google, as is Tim Armstrong, AOL's chief executive.
Seth supersedes Eric Bosco, who had worked at AOL since 1996. Bosco was the main architect of AIM and headed the company's communication products before moving to Advertising.com. He is the latest in a group of execs to depart AOL. The move comes as AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and his deputy Jeff Levick hasten to remake the company's leadership in their image ahead of its public spin-off by year's end, who has brought in a number of his former Google colleagues.
Barely two weeks back, the company bid farewell to COO Kim Partoll and John Kanapell, SVP, AOL Search and Directional Media. And it hired former Yahoo exec Brad Garlinghouse as president of Internet and mobile communications. In addition to Levick, Armstrong has also recently added Caroline Campbell in PR, while this summer, the search giant's agency liaison Erin Clift took on newly-created post of SVP for global sales development.
Time Warner appointed Armstrong in March and plans to spin off AOL into an independent unit by the end of the year. Armstrong has said he wants to refocus AOL around online content, display advertising and a handful of other businesses. That is likely to put AOL in a collision course with larger rivals, including Yahoo and, to a lesser extent, Google.
“As we move forward on our strategy of becoming the world's largest provider of display advertising, Shashi will play a critical role in creating the best products in the business for our advertising partners,” Levick said in a press release.
Seth comes to AOL from Cooliris, which creates products for image and video browsing, where he served as chief revenue officer. Prior to that he was with Google, where he served most recently as head of monetization for YouTube till June 2008.
“I'm grateful to have the opportunity to come to AOL as it moves toward becoming an independent company,” said Seth. “The company already has an incredible combination of scale and a suite of great advertising products and technology.”
Seth's line of descent includes work on major online platforms for several big retailers and Web companies, including Gap, eBay, Google, and YouTube. At YouTube he led the development team behind the video platform's in-video ad formats. After leaving there in May 2008, Seth served as chief revenue officer for rich media technology firm Cooliris. He will be based at AOL's expanding Mountain View offices, joining another recent high profile hire, Brad Garlinghouse, who was just tapped to head AOL’s Communications efforts and manage the company’s West Coast AOL Ventures efforts.
“All the biggest ad platforms that are out there, he has been a key contributor to,” Levick said. “Him coming here is a huge opportunity for us.”
The mix of hirings and firings are expected to continue at AOL through early next year, though the changes will be more at the margins. According to Levick, Seth's appointment also signals a renewed focus on recruiting on the West Coast -- in particular Silicon Valley. He said having a bigger presence in the Bay Area is “a way to attract top product talent.” Levick noted AOL has two Mountain View offices, which it is looking to consolidate into one.
This marks AOL's latest in a flurry of recent management changes. Along with Garlinghouse -- a former Yahoo executive, Seth is at least the fourth senior Googler to be recruited by AOL. In addition to Armstrong and Levick, the company also dipped into the Google talent pool to find its new SVP global sales development, Erin Clift.
Prior to Google, Seth was with eBay, where he was responsible for building and managing eBay's APIs and platform.