Sherman ankles AOL TW

Exec left when 'things were on the right track'

Advertising guru Robert Sherman resigned Tuesday as president of America Online’s interactive marketing group, where he’d been working since last year on the turnaround of the ailing Netco.

Separately, AOL Time Warner sources confirmed Perseus Books had submitted the only formal bid for Warner Publishing, with an offer said to be just over $300 million. But they said Bertelsmann’s Random House could emerge with another offer and that no deal is imminent.

AOL TW has been looking to shrink its giant debt by unloading some assets. A sale of its Comedy Central stake to Viacom last week for $1.2 billion relieved some of that pressure.

Sherman, a former CEO of ad agency Della Femina Sherman, came out of retirement to work for AOL TW at the request of the conglom’s former chief operating officer, Bob Pittman. Pittman left AOL TW last summer.

Sherman had been working beyond his contract’s expiration and left when he felt “things were on the right track,” an AOL spokeswoman said. While at AOL, he helped to mend the unit’s bruised relationships with ad agencies and to revamp its sales structure.

AOL TW didn’t announce a successor.

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