Early this week, AOL announced that Joanna Shields* President of its People Networks Division would be stepping down so that she can return to London and pursue "entrepreneurial endeavors." Shields joined AOL as part of its 850 million dollar acquisition of Bebo.
Joanna Shields is largely credited with the success of Bebo, success being the aforementioned sale price, and for spear-heading the networks move into original online content production. Ironically, Shields received undue internal criticism for securing such a high price for Bebo, which has failed to make noticeable gains on social network leaders Facebook and MySpace. Undoubtedly, the situation only got worse when the CEO responsible for Bebo's purchase, Randy Falco, was pushed out early in the year in favor of Tim Armstrong who is attempting to restructure Time Warner and spin the under performing AOL off.
Update: Well, I guess we now know what motivated Ms. Shield's departure. Time Warner made it official Thursday that they are splitting AOL from Time Warner ending one of the most interesting mergers in US history.
*Disclosure: Joanna Shields is on my Bebo page, which I keep forgetting I still have; therefore, by internet law we are friends.