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Huffington deal means cuts at AOL

AOL will cut as many as 700 jobs in India and 200 in the United States, chief executive Tim Armstrong told employees. AOL will cut as many as 700 jobs in India and 200 in the United States, chief executive Tim Armstrong told employees.
By Bloomberg News
March 11, 2011

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NEW YORK — AOL Inc., the Internet company that agreed to buy the Huffington Post last month, said it will eliminate as many as 900 jobs as the company integrates the news website and restructures to try to return to revenue growth.

The company will cut as many as 700 jobs in India and 200 in the United States, chief executive Tim Armstrong wrote in a memo to employees yesterday. In India, 300 of the affected employees will move to outsourcing partners and continue to do work for AOL, he said.

“The changes for me today are very personal,’’ said Armstrong. “AOL employees deserve a tremendous amount of credit because I don’t think it’s easy to go from managing decline to managing growth.’’

“Our strategy remains clear: create high-quality content experiences for consumers, at scale,’’ Armstrong wrote in the memo. “Today, we are announcing an organizational structure that will significantly improve AOL’s ability to focus on growth.’’

The company had 5,860 employees at the end of last year, according to regulatory filings.

AOL, whose sales have declined for four straight quarters, agreed to buy the Huffington Post for $315 million, aiming to increase online content to help boost advertising revenue.

Arianna Huffington, cofounder of the Huffington Post, joined AOL as president and editor in chief of a newly formed media group, which includes other AOL content. Her website will serve as the model for other journalism efforts, Armstrong said in the memo.

“AOL will invest more heavily in our in-house editorial team and transition away from a reliance on freelance journalists,’’ he said.

Armstrong said he recently made a personal purchase of $10 million in AOL stock. In May, the former Google executive, who became AOL’s chief executive in 2009, bought $11.1 million worth of stock.