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AOL taps Garlinghouse for key roles

Author of the "Peanut Butter Manifesto" at Yahoo in 2006, Brad Garlinghouse takes charge of AOL's Internet and mobile efforts, as well as its Silicon Valley operations.

Brad Garlinghouse
Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET
Brad Garlinghouse

AOL announced Tuesday that it has appointed former Yahoo executive Brad Garlinghouse, famed for his "Peanut Butter Manifesto" at that company, as the new president of its Internet and Mobile Communications segment.

Garlinghouse also will run AOL's Silicon Valley operations from its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters and serve as the West Coast lead for AOL Ventures, the company's venture capital arm. He will report directly to AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong, who was named to those posts in April.

Garlinghouse's most recent position was as an in-house senior adviser for Silver Lake Partners.

"In addition to leading our efforts to grow our communications products, Brad will be bringing his global leadership and business experience as a key member of our company's executive leadership team," said Armstrong. "He will also be a major force for AOL in Silicon Valley, working to expand our presence there and in the tech community in general."

A former Google executive, Armstrong faces the daunting task of reviving AOL, a company once nearly synonymous with the Internet for many people but which, in recent years, has strugged with fleeing subscribers and declining sales. AOL's blockbuster marriage with Time Warner never worked out, leading inexorably to the announcement in May that AOL would once again become a separate company.

At his recent 100-days-at-AOL strategy summit, Armstrong identified communications as one of AOL's five key focus areas.

Garlinghouse knows all too well what a lack of focus can to do a business. In his Peanut Butter Manifesto in late 2006, he complained of Yahoo--which has gone through its own series of troubles and reorganizations: "We want to do everything and be everything--to everyone...The result: a thin layer of investment spread across everything we do and thus we focus on nothing in particular."

Starting in 2003 as vice president of communication products for Yahoo, Garlinghouse climbed the ladder to become a senior vice president for two other communications segments. He has also overseen the company's Flickr photo-sharing service and Yahoo Groups.

Garlinghouse left Yahoo in June 2008, at a time when the company was shedding executives at a rapid rate.