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Verizon’s head of media and advertising Tim Armstrong will leave at the end of the year, the company announced Wednesday. CNBC reported Armstrong was in talks to leave as of Sept. 7.
Armstrong came to Verizon in 2015 to help try to combine the company’s acquisitions of AOL and Yahoo into a digital advertising unit called Oath but those efforts have yet to produce significant growth. Verizon has decided to integrate Oath more fully with the rest of the company’s operations, according to a WSJ report, despite recent discussions about spinning off Oath into a separate business.
Oath president and COO K. Guru Gowrappan will “assume all management responsibilities” as chief executive effective Oct. 1, the company said in a release.
“Guru has proven experience in scaling businesses globally. I’m thrilled he will lead Oath in an exciting new phase of growth, building on the foundation Tim and his team have created,” Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement.
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The move could signal a shift in Verizon’s media and advertising strategy, which has increasingly diverged in recent months from that of its closest competitor ATT. In June, ATT completed its purchase of Time Warner, launching an advertising-focused strategy that several smaller acquisitions.
Verizon aimed to compete with Google and Facebook in the digital advertising marketplace with Oath. Instead, the business unit is expected to lose share of the market, which continues to be dominated by the two technology giants, the WSJ said.
Shares of Verizon were largely unchanged following the announcement, up 0.5 percent in trading Wednesday.
CNBC’s Jillian D’Onfro contributed to this report.
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