This article originally appeared in the TMA Midwest Blog
June 23, 2011
Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, has a very difficult job. As chief executive of a public company in the midst of a wrenching turnaround, he must convince Wall Street of the upside of his plan and endure the constant second guessing and analysis that always seems to accompany troubled media companies.
Recently Armstrong hosted an analyst day to help sell AOL’s turnaround story to a skeptical investing world. Communication to all stakeholders is essential in a turnaround, and Armstrong has his hands full with current and potential advertising customers, nervous employees and the aforementioned Wall Street skeptics.
The high points of AOL’s strategy (an integrated advertising platform, an editorial platform creating content that is both micro and broad-based in focus, divestment of under-performing and non-core businesses, etc) are compelling, but overcoming ill-will engendered from previous sins is a challenge all turnaround professionals have faced. A successful turnaround is as much about buy-in as it is about execution, and it seems that that crucial lesson has not been lost on AOL’s management team.