By Rachel Metz
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
AOL has tapped former Yahoo executive Brad Garlinghouse for a key position that is meant to beef up the struggling Internet company's presence in Silicon Valley.
Garlinghouse, 38, might be best known for calling attention to significant problems at Yahoo in a 2006 internal memo that was referred to as the "peanut butter manifesto" because it argued that the Internet company had spread itself too thin.
Since then, Yahoo has changed its chief executive twice as it has tried to nail down the best formula for keeping chase with Google in the online advertising market. Its latest leader, Carol Bartz, was hired partly to sharpen the company's focus, and recently sealed a search-advertising pact with Microsoft.
Garlinghouse said Monday he's been cheered to see the changes Bartz has wrought at Yahoo.
Though AOL -- which is getting ready to be spun off from Time Warner -- is based in New York, Garlinghouse was due to start Tuesday at the company's offices in Mountain View, Calif., where AOL's e-mail operations are based. He will be responsible for increasing the use of AOL's e-mail, instant messaging and mobile offerings. He also will be expected to help AOL identify West Coast startups to invest in.
AOL, formerly based in the Washington region, still has a large presence in Dulles.
Garlinghouse spent more than five years at Yahoo, beginning in 2003. After leaving Yahoo as a senior vice president, he became a senior adviser at Silver Lake Partners, a private-equity firm.
AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong, a former Google executive who joined the company in April, said in an interview that Garlinghouse was hired because he is "deeply steeped" in the Internet.