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New AOL Chief Armstrong Urges Company to 'Dream Big'

Mike Musgrove

Former Google executive Tim Armstrong took the reins at AOL yesterday -- and sent out his first company-wide memo.

What does Armstrong have in mind for the company? It's not clear just yet; from this memo, it seems that he's starting out on a listening tour that will take him to AOL's offices around the globe.

Many analysts and tech industry insiders have been speculating that AOL is poised to be spun off from Time Warner, and that was even before AOL's parent company this week proposed to change the terms of AOL's debt in a way that would make such a spinoff possible.

Armstrong doesn't mention that, perhaps unsurprisingly, but here's what he had to say.

(And, by the way, if you readers have any thoughts about what AOL needs to do to get back on track, please feel to post them here.)

AOLers -

Our work together starts today and we're going to bring back the magic of AOL to our consumers and our partners.

As the world continues to move toward a digital information platform, AOL sits in a unique and venerable position. We're a global digital brand and, thanks to your hard work, more than 275 million people across the globe touch AOL and our growing sub-brands every month. Billions of consumers and millions of businesses are making the digital migration, and we have a tremendous opportunity to help improve the experiences of all the people and companies making the transition.

We'll make the decisions and the investments that are required to deliver exceptional value to our customers. Consumers vote with their clicks and the time they spend on our sites, and we need to make world-class products and services that get votes based on a superior consumer experience. AOL's partners and advertisers expect no less than our consumers, and we need to hold ourselves to delivering industry-best business solutions.

Over the next 100 days, I'll be running a process to hear from all of you and many of the important partners connected to AOL. We'll sit together in our offices around the world and have open forums about what we're building for the future and what we're accomplishing today.

The culmination of the 100-day process will end in Dulles with an All-Hands meeting in mid-July. At that meeting, we'll review the feedback we've received -- both internal and external. We'll also discuss our strategic direction and optimal structure for the coming years, and highlight areas that will bring AOL and AOL properties into the next decade of digital leadership. Most importantly, we will set a course and focus all of our resources to make that course a success.

The road to Dulles in July starts this week with meetings in New York, Dulles and a Town Hall meeting with the team in Baltimore, and I plan to visit all of our global offices in my first 100 days. It is important for you to think about how AOL's mission should be captured -- how we can deliver exceptional value for consumers and partners, how we can encourage innovation, and how we can continue to make AOL an even better place to work. If you have thoughts before we meet, you can post them here and I will read them as we travel to all the offices.

Joining you today is a privilege and an honor. Over the past few weeks, I've had many opportunities to talk to current AOLers, AOL alumni and our partners. Each of them asked how they could help AOL revive the spirit we talked about in the tent in Dulles a couple of weeks ago -- a spirit of dreaming big and delighting consumers every time they touch our brands. Jeff Bewkes and the leadership across Time Warner are putting their full support behind making AOL as successful as it can be. Now it's up to us to deliver on AOL's full potential.

Thanks for having me and let's set our sights high and our execution even higher. Go AOL.

- TA

By Mike Musgrove  |  April 8, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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