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AOL Europe appoints new chief exec

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AOL - the monster internet outfit that can't hang on to its punters - is to split its operation into four divisions. According to reports, the move is designed to cut bureaucracy and improve efficiency at the ISP and make the decision making process "much crisper".

The new divisions are to be split along the lines of Access, Audience, Digital Services and AOL Europe. This latest reorganisation comes amid reports that AOL in the US is to axe 700 jobs at its HQ in Northern Virginia. The cull is due to happen early in December.

Anyhow, as part of the reorganisation Philip Rowley has been named chief exec of AOL Europe which includes the UK, France and Germany. As president of AOL Europe since September 2002, Rowley has overseen the company's performance over the last two years watching it turn around a $600m (£322m) loss in 2001 to making a profit in 2003.

Over the last quarter AOL Europe generated $29m (£15.6m) in OIBDA (Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortisation) and finished with more than 1.5m broadband subscribers. Of that, AOL UK has around 600,000 broadband users and a total customer base of 2.3m.

Last week AOL confirmed it lost two million customers in the US over the last year. At the end of September AOL had 22.7m US users, a fall of 646,000 on the previous quarter and down two million a year ago. In Europe, AOL has 6.3m subscribers - down 8,000 on Q2 but up 33,000 compared to the same period last year. ®

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