AOL lays off corp comms staff

DULLES, VA: AOL has laid off 15-20 members of its corporate communications staff, according to multiple sources.

DULLES, VA: AOL has laid off 15-20 members of its corporate communications staff, according to multiple sources.

Tricia Primrose Wallace, AOL’s new head of communications, first confirmed the layoffs to MediaPost's OnlineMediaDaily, saying the moves were part of a streamlining of communications. Wallace has not immediately answered calls for comment.

According to a PRWeek source, AOL laid off staffers in New York, Los Angeles, and Dulles, VA to keep the PR department in line with the new corporate structure as outlined by CEO Randy Falco.

Of the remaining staffers, Anne Bentley will spearhead products, programming, and platforms; David Shackley will head corporate events, employee communications, and community relations; and Andrew Weinstein will lead media relations, executive support, and international relations.

This is the first time in five years that PR has undergone a restructuring, the source said.

Wallace replaced former boss John Buckley, who resigned mid-December with a group of executives, after former CEO Jon Miller left the Internet company.

In October 2006, Buckley told PRWeek that he thought the company would maintain its PR budget in 2007 because the company was overhauling its business plan by eliminating its paid model.

"With AOL going to a free model, we're going to be cutting our marketing costs that had been going into trying to get people to subscribe," Buckley said. "The company is completely mindful that when you cut your marketing budget, [it's] not a good time to cut your corporate communications budget."

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