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AOL Hires Viacom’s Dermot McCormack as Head of Video, as Ran Harnevo Exits (Exclusive)

AOL has tapped Viacom exec Dermot McCormack as president of its video division, replacing Ran Harnevo, who is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

Harnevo has been with AOL since its September 2010 acquisition of 5min Media, the web-video startup he co-founded and led as CEO. After his exit, Harnevo will remain executive producer of AOL’s first long-form original series, “Connected.”

McCormack will lead AOL’s video businesses, comprising about 200 employees. That includes AOL On, the Internet media company’s 14 video channels; the Be On branded-content platform; and AOL Studios, which produces and distributes original programming. At Viacom, he most recently ran Viacom Music & Logo’s Connect Content Group, in charge of all digital initiatives for MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo.

“Dermot is a game-changing talent with experience exactly where we need it — building audiences through engaging programming — and is the person I expect to take AOL’s video efforts to the next level, building on our significant success to date and increasing the pace of our innovation and growth,” AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said in announcing the hire.

Harnevo, in a statement provided by AOL, said, “Building 5min Media as a small startup and then getting acquired four years later to keep going full speed and reach our vision, was the best experience in my professional life… Dermot is the right person to lead AOL On forward, and now it’s time for me to return to my entrepreneurial roots.”

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On Twitter, Harnevo put it this way:

McCormack, 45, starts at AOL on Thursday, Oct. 9. He reports to Armstrong and Bob Lord, CEO of the AOL Platforms advertising and technology group, and will be based in both New York City and Los Angeles.

“I’ve been working in the emerging content space of (traditional) media companies for several years,” McCormack said in an interview. “I feel like there’s a whole reinvention that will happen over the next five to 10 years. It’s an interesting evolutionary time.”

McCormack will largely be based in NYC, also overseeing the video tech team in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Beverly Hills-based AOL Studios, which is headed by Nate Hayden following the departure of Gabriel Lewis, who joined Disney’s Maker Studios in August.

Before joining Viacom in 2008, McCormack was Cablevision Systems’ SVP of interactive product management and was co-founder and chief technology officer of online-gift currency startup Flooz.com. Prior to that, McCormack, was one of the first executives at iVillage.com, where he led advertising products and strategy.

Since 2011, AOL has launched nearly 50 original series since 2011, and its library of curated and original video content is now distributed on 15 connected devices, including Apple TV and Roku.

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