When appointed by ITV in October 2007, from Telegraph Media Group, where he was head of online advertising, Cole was instructed to expand ITV's online sales team to maximise the revenues of both ITV.com and Friends Reunited.
However, last week as part of plans aimed at saving £50m this year and £70m next year, ITV announced it would be selling Friends Reunited to generate cash and refocus on its core assets.
The broadcaster also scrapped its target of generating £150m in online revenue by 2012, reflecting, in part, the blocking of the launch of VoD service Kangaroo by the Competition Commission.
Following a restructure of its client-facing commercial team in November, which resulted in 25 redundancies, Cole reported to Gary Digby, ITV commercial sales director.
He held a director-level post alongside Gary Knight, brand partnership director; Simon Lent, trading director; Simon Orpin, creative solutions director, and group account directors Mark Trinder and Jeremy Lawrence. It is unclear if any other director-level jobs are at risk.
It is thought ITV could look to integrate its broadcast and online sales operations. In November, it merged its online and broadcast programming operations. A senior TV executive close to ITV said: "ITV is now moving towards using its airtime deals as leverage to make online deals. The two will move closer together, especially as it focuses just on ITV.com."
Beyond Cole, any other commercial cutbacks are expected to hit ITV's internal sales operation - the non-client-facing team - which escaped unscathed in the last round of redundancies in November.
Internal sales are responsible for managing campaigns once they are booked and slotting the correct ads into the correct slots to honour efficiency deals.
ITV declined to comment.
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk