AOL's People Networks president Joanna Shields announced yesterday that she will be leaving the company to go back to her home in London to spend more time with her family.
Joanna came to AOL as the chief exec of the social network site Bebo, which was acquired by the online subsidiary of Time Warner for $850 million back in March last year.
Informing the staff about the departure of Ms Shields, AOL's chief exec Tim Armstrong wrote in a memo, “Joanna Shields has decided to step down from her role as President of People Networks/EVP of AOL and return to London to reunite her family and explore her entrepreneurial interests”.
The memo further quoted Joanna as a “start-up executive”, having taken several companies through rapid growth and acquisition. However, Ms Shields, who also worked with Google as a managing director of strategic partnerships, will continue to serve as an advisor to AOL on new ventures and acquisitions, Armstrong notified.
But, Armstrong didn't mention anything about the replacement of Ms Shields, which may trigger concerns over the future of People Networks division of AOL. Shields was known for her persuasive deal making skills, and negotiated with Time Warner's AOL into paying around $1 billion to acquire the UK-based social networking platform Bebo.
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Bebo ranking according to Alexa has been steadily falling over the past six month and the site is no longer in the top 100. As it stands, the site attracts just about the same traffic as Digg.com and is far far behind either Twitter or Myspace which were/are worth less than the $850 million AOL paid for Bebo.
(The Business Insider)