AOL Time Warner is searching for a new head of America Online, only three months after parachuting in the parent group’s co-chief operating officer Robert Pittman to rescue the ailing web unit.

In April, Pittman took over the running of AOL from chairman/ceo Barry Schuler, who was shifted to the new digital services development arm [WAMN: 10-Apr-02]. It was hoped that Pittman, president of AOL before its merger with Time Warner, could improve the unit’s fortunes.

However, plans appear to have changed, as the search for a new ceo has begun before the hoped-for turnaround. AOL continues to suffer from a slowdown in subscriber growth and the collapse in the online ad market.

The news fuelled speculation about Pittman’s future. When he returned to AOL, it was trumpeted as a temporary move after which he would resume his duties at AOL TW. However, speculation is mounting that he will leave the company altogether once the new online boss has been selected.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff