Verizon Media Chief Tim Armstrong In Talks to Leave Company

Exec has been in charge of Oath, the joint AOL-Yahoo venture

Tim Armstrong, Verizon’s head of media and advertising, is in talks to leave the company as soon as next month, according to multiple reports on Friday.

Armstrong has been with Verizon since 2015 when it acquired AOL. He led the company’s 2017 acquisition of Yahoo, and has been running Oath, Verizon’s joint AOL-Yahoo venture.

Oath’s attempt to take on major digital advertisers like Facebook and Google has largely been in vain to this point, however, despite combining two legacy names in online media. The company accounts for less than 5 percent of U.S. online ad sales, according to the Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the news.

Verizon shares were down about 0.5 percent in early morning trading on Friday, hovering near $54 per share.

Compounding Oath’s rocky start has been Verizon’s resistance to sharing information on apps its customers use and browsing history, hampering its ability to serve ads, according to WSJ. Verizon’s recent search for a new chief executive didn’t include Armstrong, per the report, despite his previous experience as CEO of AOL from 2009 to 2015.

Armstrong’s exit could be a sign Verizon is looking to reconsider its media strategy. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg recently signaled the company isn’t interested in buying premium content, similar to AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. Verizon is considering whether to integrate parts of Oath’s business following Armstrong’s exit, according to the WSJ, which could come as early as October.