Marni Walden, EVP and president of global media and the highest-ranking female executive at Verizon, will step down and move into an advisory position as of Dec. 31. She will leave the company in February, according to a Verizon SEC filing dated Sept. 28.
CEO Lowell McAdam confirmed the news late Wednesday, stating that Walden “spearheaded Verizon’s entry into global digital media and telematics and will leave us in a strong competitive position.”
Upon Walden’s departure in February, Oath CEO Tim Armstrong will report directly to McAdam. John Stratton, EVP of global operations, will take over responsibilities for the telematics business. Armstrong’s title has not changed, and Walden will not be replaced.
Walden helped drive Verizon’s $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo and its subsequent merger in June with Verizon’s previously acquired asset AOL, under the brand name Oath.
Armstrong has been a proponent of providing an alternative to the walled-garden duopoly of Facebook and Google.
“You hear the advertising community crying out for trusted relationships and places to do marketing,” Armstrong said during Oath’s coming-out party at Cannes Lions this June. “We’re going to be able to deliver a very trusted, safe audience experience overall.”
Oath’s biggest selling point is the company’s cross-device insights and the combined power of the Yahoo and AOL stacks.
"We have one of the largest platforms that directs traffic," Armstrong said in Cannes. "By improving the areas of our content properties and partnerships, we can be a very big disruptor in the content space."
Its still unclear however how effective Verizon would be at integrating AOL’s technologies with Yahoo’s – particularly where there are duplicates.
Also, the fallout from the hacking of Yahoo’s emails in 2013 continues, with details emerging this week that 3 billion accounts were affected, and not 1 billion, as previously reported.