Mike Arrington addresses AOL 'drama' at start of TechCrunch expo

TechCrunch's founder and former editor-in-chief wants to keep the focus on startups at Disrupt SF 2011 this week.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Amidst all of the public attention surrounding Michael Arrington in the last two weeks, TechCrunch's co-founder and former editor-in-chief asserted his desire to keep the focus on startups during the media company's conference this week.

Joking during the opening remarks at Disrupt 2011 in San Francisco on Monday morning, Arrington started off on a light note, stating that "even with all the drama," they couldn't get everyone in their seats on time.

Arrington got down to business quickly, addressing the topic that many of the attendees were likely anticipating to hear about -- his messy departure from TechCrunch and AOL.

Also see: CNET: TechCrunch founder Arrington officially moves on

AOL said in a statement on TechCrunch:

“The TechCrunch acquisition has been a success for AOL and for our shareholders, and we are very excited about its future. Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch has decided to move on from TechCrunch and AOL to his newly formed venture fund. Michael is a world-class entrepreneur and we look forward to supporting his new endeavor through our investment in his venture fund. Erick Schonfeld has been named the editor of TechCrunch. TechCrunch will be expanding its editorial leadership in the coming months.”

Yet, Arrington said he wanted to cover the situation immediately as he stated firmly that the "focus here is on the content and the 30 companies launching in the [TechCrunch] Battlefield" this week.

"I have to say that the proudest accomplishment of mine over the last year is keeping this TechCrunch team together," said Arrington, "I think it just shows how well we all work together," adding that it is "remarkable" for a startup to keep a core team together for so long.

"Unfortunately, I’m going to be the first to leave," Arrington admitted, "It’s not longer a good situation for me to stay at TechCrunch."

Effective within the next "few days," Arrington will no longer be involved with nor employed by TechCrunch and AOL as he will run his new venture capital project that instigated the controversy: CrunchFund.

However, AOL will remain a partner of the CrunchFund, to which Arrington affirmed he's really excited about that. He also said that AOL will be making some statements about the leader of TechCrunch going forward.

As for his role at TechCrunch Disrupt this week? Arrington removed a collared, button-up shirt to reveal a bright green t-shirt that read -- likely much to the chagrin of former AOL colleague Arianna Huffington --"Unpaid Blogger."


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