AOL Changes Guard: Employee Insights to new CEO Tim Armstrong

AOL’s CEO Randy Falco has left the building and it will be interesting to watch how the new CEO Tim Armstrong, a former Google advertising sales executive, will be received by employees. For the past several months, Falco has been on our CEO Watch List as one of the lowest rated CEOs on (w/ at least 25 or more reviews). At the time of the announcement, Falco had a 13% approval rating and 64% disapproval rating.  One has to ask if the writing was on the wall for Falco when we observe that his approval rating continued to sink. 

Here is a snapshot look at Falco’s over the past several months based on Glassdoor’s CEO Watch List…

So what can Tim Armstrong learn from Falco’s experience at the top of AOL?  He should ask AOL employees.  Below are just a handful of suggestions AOL employees have for senior management — feedback on what is working well and things Tim Armstrong may want to address quickly.  

One should be easy enough based on Tim’s experience at Google: “Get the ad business on track and kick the sales force in the butt. Hard.” – Software Engineer (Lancaster, PA)

Employees’ advice to senior management:

“Do something. The content strategy remains questionable, even if the eyeballs are relatively cheap due to low labor costs (bloggers). Going to continue to need local developers to work on product — India is mostly not cutting it.” – Senior Programming Manager (Dulles, VA)

“Take any offer you can get for the company…” Vice President (Dulles, VA)

The benefits of working for AOL:

“It still has a huge number of talented people and itz a flexible work place. Casual dress code, support for open source technologies, competitive salaries all make it still a good place to work.” – Senior Systems Administrator

“If you have a family, AOL is a really nice place to work since they support great work/life flexibility. We recently had our vacation time increased.” – Systems Architect (Dulles, VA)

And lastly, here are the downsides employees note about AOL:

“Never have I worked at such a negative place. Upper management heavy. No positive reinforcement. Constant layoffs. Constant new policies. Constant frustration. if you do go to work there don’t be surprised if you’re laid off within a year. don’t worry, their packages are fair. for the record i have not been laid off. Yet” – Account Director (Albany, NY)

“Career advancement is limited while company future is bleak.” – Senior Technical Project Manager (Dulles, VA)

We wish Tim Armstrong the best of luck as he prepares to jump into AOL. As he said Thursday, he will be working toward “the right structure and future for AOL.”  Check back as we track what AOL employees think.

AOL employees keep us posted. What do you think about the change in leadership?