Verizon's Media & Advertising Chief Tim Armstrong In Talks to Leave

Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic
Tim Armstrong attends AOL Newfront on May 3, 2016 in New York City. 

Tim Armstrong, the architect of Verizon's effort to become an advertising giant, is in talks to leave the telecom company, sources familiar with the discussions confirm to The Hollywood Reporter. 

The longtime media executive will depart the company as it refocuses on its 5G cellular technology and away from content under newly appointed CEO Hans Vestberg. Also said to be leaving are Oath CFO Vanessa Wittman and communications chief Natalie Ravitz. A Verizon spokeswoman declined to comment on Armstrong's departure, adding that the company has "no announcements to make." 

Armstrong joined Verizon in 2015 after selling AOL to the telecom giant for $4.4 billion. He then set out to build up a content empire, ultimately leading the charge to buy Yahoo for $4.48 billion in 2017, a deal that hit a snag after the internet company revealed a previously undisclosed hack that affected millions.

Following the completion of that purchase, Armstrong became the CEO of the newly combined AOL-Yahoo, known as Oath. He spoke openly about plans to assemble an audience of 2 billion users that would help it compete against advertising giants Facebook and Google. 

But over the last year, Verizon has retreated from its media ambitions, shutting down its ambitious go90 video streaming app in the process. Meanwhile, Armstrong has hoped to spin out Oath into a standalone company, per sources, but Vestberg has stated publicly since his appointment that he has no plans to sell the business. Following the decision to integrate Oath further into Verizon, it made sense for Armstrong and the executive team that he had assembled to move on to new opportunities. It is unclear what his departure will mean for the future of media brands such as TechCrunch and HuffPost within Verizon.

Verizon's stock is trading mostly flat early Friday morning. 

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news of Armstrong's departure.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.