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Top Executives at, AOL's Biggest Acquisition, Are Leaving

Tim Armstrong paid $405 million for the ad tech company in September 2013. Its CEO left this month, following other top executives.

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Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Less than two years ago, AOL made the biggest acquisition of CEO Tim Armstrong’s tenure, paying $405 million for ad tech startup

Now much of’s senior management has left. The most recent departure is co-founder Amir Ashkenazi, who was CEO of up until its sale to AOL in September 2013, and then became president of AOL’s “Platforms” technology group. Ashkenazi left earlier this month.

“Amir’s contributions to AOL will live on well past his departure and we wish him well,” an AOL rep said in a statement.’s software helps people buy and sell video advertising via an exchange. AOL’s purchase represented a large bet in two crucial areas for Armstrong: “Programmatic” — that is, automated — ad buying, and video.

AOL hasn’t announced a replacement for Ashkenazi, but a person familiar with the company said his responsibilities will essentially be divvied up between Don Kennedy, who heads up the sales side of AOL’s advertising business, and Amit Kapur, who runs the company’s publisher business. Both men report to Bob Lord, who oversees all of AOL’s ad and tech operations.

Ashkenazi is one of several executives who have left in the last year, including Ashkenazi’s co-founder Teg Grenager, who had been the company’s chief product officer and left late in 2014. Former president Toby Gabriner left last spring.

As Kara Swisher has reported AOL is in the midst of a significant sales re-org. People familiar with Ashkenazi’s departure say it’s not directly connected to that restructuring. But former employees say some of the startup’s workers have had a hard time figuring out how to work with AOL’s existing employees and infrastructure.

Some high-profile employees remain with AOL, including Raleigh Harbour, the company’s chief operating officer and sales execs Dan Ackerman and Vijay Rao.

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