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Ex-AOL Exec Joins VSS

Michael Kelly has joined the board of advisors at Veronis Suhler Stevenson. He most recently served as president of AOL Media Networks.




Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a leading private equity firm that invests in the media, information and education industries, today announced that Michael J. Kelly*, most recently President of AOL Media Networks, has joined its Board of Advisors.  Kelly will also serve as senior advisor to the firm's private equity team on a non-exclusive basis.


The VSS Board of Advisors now consists of eleven former senior media industry and government leaders, who provide advice and assistance to the firm's private equity investment team and portfolio companies on a broad array of topics, from investment sourcing, industry and regulatory trends to best operating and governance practices. 


Kelly, a Time Warner veteran and prominent Internet and advertising executive with established relationships across the full spectrum of media segments, brings to the Board of Advisors deep expertise in launching, developing and integrating digital media businesses as well as extensive experience as a sales and marketing media executive.


During his tenure with AOL, from 2004 until 2007, Kelly created the AOL Media Networks organization and initiated the acquisition of and Third Screen Media, among others.  From 2002 until 2004, as President – Global Marketing at Time Warner, Kelly oversaw the company's Global Marketing group, which works with the world's largest advertisers to develop and implement cross-platform marketing solutions.  Prior to joining Time Warner, Kelly was the founder and CEO of American Town Network, the local interactive media company for which he still remains on the board.


Kelly's experience in the media industry comprises 28 years, 17 of which were spent with Time Inc., where he was on the launch team of Entertainment Weekly and subsequently served as the Publisher, from 1996-2000.  He began his career at the Chicago Tribune.


Kelly currently serves as a digital media advisor and investor and is involved with several fast growing Internet companies.  He is on the board of Eyeblaster, a global leader in digital advertising services; and Senior Advisor to the board of Contextweb, the digital advertising Exchange.  He also is an advisor to Clearmeadow Partners, a media advisory firm.


“It is an honor to have Mike join our Board of Advisors and see him take on an active role as a senior advisor to our firm,” said VSS Founding Partner John Suhler.  “Mike's 28 years of experience as a media executive, many of which he has been known by me and VSS, and his insight and understanding of developing digital businesses, will be invaluable to VSS's private equity investment business.  Digital media is one of the fastest growing media segments, and is increasingly gaining in importance for companies we develop and invest in.”


“I am pleased to be joining forces with VSS in the role as senior advisor to its investment team and as new member of its Board of Advisors,” said Kelly.  “The media landscape is changing quickly as businesses face the challenges and opportunities of digital media.  As the longtime leader in the media space, VSS is best positioned to spearhead the digital transformation of businesses.  I have the highest respect for this group of world-class media and investment experts the firm has assembled over the past 20 years, and VSS's track record of investing in and assisting growing media companies with their transition to becoming innovative businesses.”


Members of the VSS Board of Advisors, in addition to Kelly, include:

David Arculus, former CEO of EMAP and IPC Group; Reginald Brack, former CEO of Time Inc.; Lawrence Crutcher, former senior executive of Time Inc. and former Managing Director of VSS; Jan Froshaug, former CEO of the Egmonth Group; Gene Jankowski, former President of the CBS Broadcasting Group and former VSS Managing Director; The Right Honorable Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada; John Purcell, former President of SFN Companies, former EVP of CBS and former CFO of Gannett; Francois Roy, CFO of McGill University and former CFO of Quebecor Inc. and Telemedia Corporation; and Gerd Schulte-Hillen, former CEO of Gruner & Jahr and former Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann AG, and Len Forman former CFO of the New York Times Company.


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*Editors' Note

“Michael J. Kelly” mentioned in this release, is unrelated to and not to be confused with “John Michael Kelly”, formerly CFO of AOL Time Warner.


About Veronis Suhler Stevenson

Veronis Suhler Stevenson is a private equity firm that invests buyout and structured capital funds in the media, information and education industries in North America and Europe. VSS provides capital for buyouts, recapitalizations, growth financings and strategic acquisitions to companies and management teams with a goal to build companies both organically and through a focused add-on acquisition program. To date, VSS equity and structured capital funds have invested in 61 platform companies, which have in turn completed over 255 add-on acquisitions resulting in a portfolio with realized and unrealized enterprise values in excess of $14 billion.