AOL Confirms Ned Brody Has Resigned As Head Of AOL Networks, CEO Armstrong Takes Over In The Interim

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Some turmoil in the management ranks at AOL, with Yahoo, apparently, hoping to profit as part of its ongoing hiring spree. AOL (which owns TechCrunch) has confirmed to us that Ned Brody, who had been the CEO of advertising division AOL Networks, has resigned from the company, on the heels of a report in AllThingsD that Yahoo is tapping him to become its new head of sales for North America, a role that has been vacant for the last year. A replacement has not been named for Brody; AOL says that CEO Tim Armstrong will be running Networks in the interim instead. Yahoo has yet to confirm the report.

If the ATD report is accurate, it could add some tension to the relationship between the two companies, who work together in a display advertising partnership along with Microsoft.

Armstrong has already started taking up some of the reign in promoting that advertising business, with an appearance at the Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco earlier this week.

Brody’s departure comes less than two months after AOL announced two other big management changes: Artie Minson, who had been the COO, is leaving the company with the COO role disappearing (he’s staying on first for a ‘transition period’); and Susan Lyne is the new CEO of AOL’s brand group.

ATD’s story puts a particularly dramatic spin on this latest move. Brody has been approached specifically to fill an important hole in Yahoo’s business that has been vacant since Ross Levinsohn left the role. Today, North America represents the biggest part of Yahoo’s business both in terms of advertising revenue and audience. At the same time, because this is also the most important part of AOL’s business, the latter company has a 12-month non-compete clause in place for Brody.

It has not been confirmed that Brody is actually taking this job, but ATD reports that there may be a legal challenge put up by AOL if he does because Yahoo may look to “subvert the 12-month non-compete.”

AOL Networks is the smallest part of AOL’s business today, but it’s also the fastest growing. In Q4, Networks brought in revenues of $183.4 million, compared to $213.2 million for the Brand group (which includes TechCrunch) and $230.8 million for the Membership group (which includes AOL mail and paid services). But that was a rise of 37%, compared to a fall of 9% for Membership and a rise of 4% for Brand.

For its part, Yahoo has been buying, hiring and acqui-hiring lots of people across the board in its bid to reposition itself — once great, but in more recent years in great decline — and make it fighting fit.

Those changes have included more or less totally replacing the executive team, starting with new CEO Marissa Mayer and including a new COO, CFO and more.

So far, Mayer has been impressing investors, with the stock price up 53% in the last six months.

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