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AIM exec steps down

Chamath Palihapitiya is leaving America Online to join the Mayfield Fund venture capital firm.

A chief architect in the transformation of America Online's Instant Messenger service is leaving the company to join the Mayfield Fund. Chamath Palihapitiya, general manager of the AIM division, will become a principal at the venture capital firm on Jan. 5.

Palihapitiya, who helped AOL change the architecture of its IM service to a free communication portal with tools, will focus on consumer services geared toward the Internet and mobile devices, said Raj Kapoor, Mayfield managing director. Palihapitiya, 29, will also help the firm stay in touch with the youth market, a segment expected to be a large component of the consumer services market, Kapoor said.