After some restructuring over at the AOL Huffington Post Media Group, there are conflicting reports as to what actually happened to Arianna Huffington.
The New York Times ran a piece yesterday with the headline “Huffington Gains More Control in AOL Revamping.” In that article, Brian Stelter says that part of the “revamp” at the top gives the technology, business development, marketing, and communications departments to Huffington. She’ll oversee those, but advertising sales unit “will remain inside AOL ‘at the moment.'”
Stelter goes on to say that the reorganization will increase Huffington’s power:
The changes appear to give Ms. Huffington more authority within the closely watched media company, where her title is president and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. She will continue to report to Tim Armstrong, the AOL chief executive, whose contract was extended last week to run through early 2016.
Ok, great. Except Business Insider just ran a piece that says Huffington has actually been demoted. They quote a “source close to AOL” that says Huffington has actually seen quite the opposite – a “narrowing” of responsibilities. According to BI, “Huffington no longer has oversight over TechCrunch, Engadget, Moviephone, Stylist, AOL Video, or, most importantly, AOL.com.”
So what’s the deal here?
Business Insider’s source theorizes that the reason for the NYT article has everything to do with the announcement of NBC News’ Lauren Kapp as the new global strategy, marketing, and communications head at The Huffington Post.
According to the theory, Kapp, who shares a relationship with the NYT’s Stelter, got that story up in order to get ahead of the real story – that Huffington had lost authority.
The source close to AOL executives tells us that leadership at the top doesn’t mind stories like the one placed in the New York Times today.
It certainly is a more friendly story to AOL HuffPo.
For his part, Stelter has addressed the BI piece on Twitter. In response to being asked if he’d seen the BI story, here was his reply:
The drama runs deep with this group. We’ve followed the Arianna Huffington/Michael Arrington/Tech Crunch saga since AOL bought the Huffington Post a year ago. Recently, Arrington went on a tear, calling Arianna Huffington a “touchy psychopath” and saying that she loves “f*cking with TechCrunch in her leisure time.” If BI has it right, they wont have to worry about her f*cking with them anymore.