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Former Bebo CEO Joanna Shields Leaves AOL

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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Our Comments

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.

Related Links

Joanna Shields to leave AOL (opens in new tab)

(Guardian)

AOL, Bebo President Joanna Shields Part Ways (MEMO) (TWX) (opens in new tab)

(The Business Insider)

AOL’s People Networks President Shields Quitting, Back To London (opens in new tab)

(paidContent:UK)

Bebo’s Joanna Shields moves on (opens in new tab)

(Financial Times)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.