Susan Lyne Steps Down as AOL Brand Chief to Head Company’s New Venture Fund

Exec to run Internet media company's newly established BBG Fund, focused on early-stage investments in women-led firms

AOL announced that Susan Lyne will relinquish her role as CEO of the company’s brand group to lead AOL’s newly established BBG Fund focused on early-stage investments in women-led consumer Internet start-ups.

“As head of AOL Brands, I had the opportunity to contribute to the growth and profitability of our portfolio of premium brands,” Lyne said in a prepared statement. “In my new role, I am looking forward to contributing in a different way.”

The fund will make investments focused on multiplatform media, services and commerce. Initially, AOL will allocate $10 million for the BBG Fund (which stands for “Built by Girls”). Lyne, previously EVP and CEO of AOL’s Brand Group, will remain based at the company’s headquarters in New York City and will report to AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong.

Lyne, who joined AOL in February 2013, previously was chairman and CEO of online fashion and luxury brand retailer Gilt Groupe and served as president, CEO and director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia from 2004 to 2008. From 1996 to 2004, Lyne served in various positions at The Walt Disney Co., including president of ABC Entertainment from 2002 to 2004.

“Susan has done an excellent job in her time at AOL at a board and operating level, and we are excited to be putting her vast skills and expertise to work to replicate this success at The BBG Fund,” Armstrong said.

With the change in Lyne’s role, AOL said that Maureen Sullivan will continue to lead AOL.com as well as AOL’s lifestyle brands and money portfolio; Luke Beatty will lead AOL’s technology, autos and entertainment properties as well as the experimental products team; and Arianna Huffington and Jimmy Maymann will continue to run The Huffington Post.

AOL cited its previous investment in women-focused content, including the MAKERS original series, Thrive, Global Motherhood and the Cambio/Girls Who Code program. With the BBG Fund, AOL is “investing in women as builders, part of a broader initiative to bring more women and girls into tech,” the company said.

The BBG Fund is part of a broader initiative that Lyne will introduce next month at the Ad Week industry forum next month in New York, according to AOL.

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