As one might expect with an abrupt change of control, a lot of senior folks are leaving (or plan to leave) AOL since the new boss (Randy Falco from NBC) came on board. And they are talking – off the record – about what happened to former AOL CEO Jon Miller. Now, clearly this is sourced by folks who were Miller lieutenants, but they say Falco’s unexpected appointment means one thing: AOL is going to be stripped down and sold off within the next year. They don’t believe that Falco has any intention of really focusing on building new products and being a software/services kind of CEO, as Miller was starting to become, and as AOL clearly needs to be if it is going to compete with Yahoo and Google.
They add that the real story behind Falco’s rise to power comes down to a standoff between Miller and Falco – apparently Falco was supposed to be brought in as Miller’s #2, but each man didn’t think the other was right for the job, and when push came to shove, Falco won. He was reportedly helped by a push from his former #2 at NBC, David Zaslav, who apparently needed Falco to leave so as to get out of a contract at NBC and join Discovery as its new CEO. Rumor has it that someone leaked word to the press that Miller was on the outs and Falco was coming in at AOL (Miller learned he was going to be fired from a journalist, OUCH), and that rumor was sourced at NBC. Intriguing. How the Titans play….