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AOL Europe COO refuses job switch

'We're talking to Stan about his future plans', says AOL

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AOL Europe chief operating officer (COO) Stan Laurent is rumoured to have resigned amidst a row over the future direction of the internet giant.

Staff were told last week that Laurent had decided not to take the top job in charge of AOL Europe's "Audience" operation, which looks after areas such as content and advertising.

But El Reg has been told that Laurent hasn't just declined a top job but has decided to quit the business.

AOL is refusing to comment on whether Laurent has resigned but has confirmed he has turned down the opportunity to lead its "Audience" business.

In a statement, the internet giant told us: "Stan Laurent, COO, AOL Europe, has taken a personal decision not to lead the new pan-European Audience business and Karen Thomson, President of AOL Europe, has therefore taken over this role. We are in the process of talking to Stan about his future plans."

It went on: "AOL Europe is formalising a pan-European structure for its Audience business, which comprises content, advertising, search and paid services activities. This will allow the company to further strengthen its activities in these markets and align better internally."

Earlier this month it emerged that Time Warner had hired bankers Citigroup to conduct a strategic review of its AOL Europe business as part of fresh plans to expand its operation.

Contrary to a flurry of recent press reports, the sale of parts of AOL Europe is not top of Time Warner's agenda. Instead, the US media giant is keen to pursue partnerships or third party agreements - much like the $1bn deal it struck with Google last year - to develop its business in Europe. ®

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