MediaFile

AOL’s Tim Armstrong’s more worried about Main St than Wall St

AOL’s recently appointed chief executive, Tim Armstrong, has only been in place for three weeks but Wall Street is waiting impatiently for his next move. He’s started to shake up the ad team. Investors are focused on when parent company Time Warner will spin off the Internet unit, which has lost favor with Wall Street, advertisers and users alike.

Armstrong, gave his first interview since starting on April 1 to Ad Age Editor Jonah Bloom at the 4A’s advertising conference in San Francisco. Though he has declined doing interviews since he joined, AOL’s communications people said Armstrong was keeping a commitment he’d made while he still at Google.

The three-part interview can be seen at Ad Age here. The fireside chat covered topics like AOL’s branding, AOL’s undervalued ad space, and how Armstrong had to leave Google by the tradesman’s entrance on his last day.

Asked whether AOL’s standalone valuation could once again be worth $20 billion, which it theoretically was until Google wrote down its 5 percent stake in AOL to effectively give it a value of $5.5 billion in January, Armstrong said:

5.5 (billion) in my book is still a lot of money…I’ve said internally to employees Wall Street cares about you, and Main Street cares about you, and until we get Main Street caring about our company everyday (and) every time they touch the product and service, the valuation doesn’t matter because the worst case possible, the thing that happens at Internet companies is, you see, it is that people vote with their clicks and over time unique users go down.

Google loses another executive

Another high-level Google executive is jumping ship.

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, president of Asia Pacific and Latin American operations at Google, is joining venture capital firm Accel Partners as CEO-in-Residence.

Singh Cassidy, a six-year Google veteran, was responsible for Google’s commercial operations across 103 different countries in APAC and Latin America, according to an announcement by Accel Partners.

Singh Cassidy is no stranger to Accel Partners: she co-founded an online finance start-up in the late 90s called Yodlee, which was backed by the venture capital firm.

Google layoffs don’t stop hiring efforts

Google may be giving pink slips to some 200 hapless souls, but that’s not stopping the company from hiring in certain places.

The search giant has about 360 job openings listed on its Web site, and a spokesman has confirmed that they are indeed open positions. Only about 30 of the US job openings are for work that appears related to sales and marketing – the kinds of jobs that were impacted by Thursday’s layoffs.

The job openings provide a fascinating window into the inner workings of the vast Google empire, which has a need for everything from a software engineer in Krakow to an account manager in Cairo.

The media is hungry for corporate excess

Guess where the paparazzi are training their lenses these days? For those of you who missed it, The New York Times writes that gossip rags have all but abandoned Britney Spears for the thrill of capturing corporate excesses on camera. From the paper:

The tabloid media, of course, have always peered into the excesses of the rich and famous with a mix of puritan disapproval and voyeurism. But these outlets and other news organizations are now recording troubling uses of taxpayer money at country clubs, private airports and glamorous retreats and, in so doing, explicitly tapping into a fierce populist anger at corporate America, and even pressuring Congress to hold companies accountable.

Populist indignation apart, perhaps people also feel a sense of glee when watching or reading about the severe scaling back of corporate budgets that once supported lavish lifestyles. Gawker may have captured the glee best in this biting account of The Wall Street Journal story on Goldman Sachs executives being asked to stay at Embassy Suites rather than the Ritz.