AOL hires Garlinghouse at 'pivotal moment'

Summary:AOL has hired Brad Garlinghouse, the former Yahoo exec who penned the "Peanut Butter Manifesto," as president of its Internet and mobile communications. Garlinghouse will aim to expand AOL's e-mail and instant messaging services and bolster the company's Silicon Valley footprint.

AOL has hired Brad Garlinghouse, the former Yahoo exec who penned the "Peanut Butter Manifesto," as president of its Internet and mobile communications. Garlinghouse will aim to expand AOL's e-mail and instant messaging services and bolster the company's Silicon Valley footprint.

Garlinghouse had roughly the same gig at Yahoo. In 2006, Garlinghouse highlighted problems at Yahoo and noted that the company was spread too thin like peanut butter. That rant became known as the "Peanut Butter Manifesto."

The move to hire Garlinghouse (statement, Techmeme) is part of AOL's refocusing on communications and content. Time Warner is spinning  AOL off to shareholders by the end of the year. And AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, a former Google exec who joined the company in March, has been reshaping the company. In a statement, Armstrong called Garlinghouse (right) an "all-star in the Internet industry" who can grow AOL's communications products. Garlinghouse will also be the West Coast lead AOL Ventures from the company's Mountain View campus.

As for Garlinghouse, he said he's joining AOL at "this pivotal moment in its history." Garlinghouse most recently was an in-house senior advisor at Silverlake Partners. He also spent six years at Yahoo as senior vice president of communications and communities. He joined Yahoo in 2003.

Armstrong's revitalization plan for Yahoo revolves around communications, content, local and mapping and AOL Ventures. AOL's dial-up business will hang around to fund expansion into other areas.

Garlinghouse will have his work cut out. AOL faces tough competition in messaging from Yahoo. In addition, Gmail has surpassed AOL as the No. 3 email service in the U.S.

Topics: Browser, Collaboration, Social Enterprise

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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