Can Jonathan Miller do for Yahoo what he tried to do for AOL? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Investor Carl Icahn, who reached a compromise with Yahoo this morning to avoid a nasty proxy battle for seats on the company's board of directors, is reportedly looking at Miller to hold one of the new seats established as part of the Icahn-Yahoo deal. Miller's high-profile ousting by Time Warner might raise some eyebrows but his advocates are quick to point out that Miller had a vision for AOL that extended beyond its dial-up subscription model and members-only content.
Under Miller's reign, AOL dropped the long-time subscription revenue strategy and went full-force into an advertising model that could carry it into the broadband age, including the acquisition of advertising.com. Because Miller came on-board at AOL during a time that some might call "a moment of crisis," his experience could be a good thing for Yahoo, which is also trying to reshape itself, former AOL executive John Buckley told the Associated Press.
Icahn's new seats on the Yahoo board still put him in the minority and its unclear if Miller's past could work for or against Team Icahn as it gets to work on the new board. Whether or not AOL was on the right track under Miller is a topic for debate. Ad revenue was growing when Miller was suddenly fired but Time Warner, which brought in NBC executive Randy Falco to run the show, was considered much more of a hardcore operations leader, compared to Miller, who was considered more of a strategist. Shortly after Miller's ousting, there was an exodus of the management team at AOL and employees received layoff notices as part of a massive restructuring. AOL's growth in ad revenue has since shrunk while Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have all seen increases.
Miller is currently a partner at venture capital firm Velocity Interactive Group.