Oath CEO Tim Armstrong Reportedly Departing Verizon, Among Other Executive Exits

Verizon’s digital media unit Oath appears to be in a state of change with CEO Tim Armstrong and other executives reportedly planning to leave the company.

Media reports – citing inside sources – said Armstrong’s exit would follow on the heels of Bob Toohey’s recent departure as chief people officer. Other executives said to be leaving include CFO Vanessa Wittman and Natalie Ravitz, chief communications officer.

Oath was founded in 2017 following Verizon’s acquisitions of AOL and Yahoo. Digital media brands folded into Oath include TechCrunch, Engadget, Edgecast and HuffPost, among others.

Armstrong, who headed AOL from 2009 until its purchase by Verizon, has been tasked in part to help the telecom establish an over-the-top video presence.

Indeed, after Verizon spent nearly $1 billion launching Go90, an ad-supported mobile app targeting the 18-34-year-old demo, Oath took over the app after it failed to gain traction. It was scuttled shortly thereafter.

Go90 remains a stain on former Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, who stepped down in August.

Verizon reportedly declined to comment on the scuttlebutt.

Verizon, Samsung Ink Content Distribution Pact

Verizon and Samsung have signed an agreement enabling original content from the telecom’s Oath subsidiary to be distributed on mobile devices.

Under terms of the deal, Samsung will embed apps from Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance, Oath Newsroom and Go90 on Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ smart phones.

Oath becomes Samsung’s premiere content partner on the consumer electronics manufacturer’s updated personal assistant software – Bixby Home in the U.S., with plans to expand worldwide later this year. Oath’s top mobile apps and native ads will now be distributed across eligible Samsung devices with Bixby.

The agreement is breakthrough for the nine-month-old Oath platform, which arose following the merging of Yahoo, AOL, HuffPost, EdgeCast and BrightRoll brands.

“The amount of content consumption on phones is continuing to skyrocket,” Tim Armstrong, CEO of Oath, told Reuters. Samsung and Oath will share ad revenue under the deal.

Indeed, video consumption on mobile phones is projected to top 196 million users by 2020, according to eMarketer.com.

“Our advertiser and publisher partners will benefit from increased mobile visibility,” Dave Bottoms, VP, product management and John DeVine, chief revenue officer at Oath, wrote in a May 1 blog post announcing the deal.

Not disclosed in the deal is the fact Oath in April reportedly updated user privacy policies, enabling it to mine AOL, Yahoo emails to better direct third-party advertisers to consumers. The company does allow users to opt out of ad targeting.