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NAME AND TITLE: Ira Parker, executive vice president and general counsel AGE: 50 THE COMPANY: AOL LLC, formerly America Online, was a pioneering Internet service provider, and the world’s largest, with 17 million subscribers within the United States and 6 million in Europe. Its Web network draws 112 million unique visitors every month. AOL’s headquarters are in Dulles, Va. The company was called Quantum Computer in 1985, when it began offering e-mail and online services. Instant messaging came in 1989. The AOL network offers a range of services, including online shopping, e-mail and online content. The company absorbed the Compuserve Internet service provider in 1998 and Netscape in 1999. AOL merged with Time Warner in 2000. Sales in 2005 surpassed $8 billion. Last year, AOL tore up its old business model. Its subscription service remains available, but the focus is on offering its services for free-the better to build a massive audience for advertising. “For many users, AOL was synonymous with the Internet because we provided them both access and content online,” Parker said. “But as the nation adopted broadband, high-speed Internet, the AOL business model came under pressure. With high-speed connectivity controlled by the cable and telephone companies, how did AOL thrive? “The answer is simple: Stop trying to compete with the guys who own the pipes and instead focus on our core strengths, like ease of use, content, communications tools, security features and community. If you give your content and services away for free to high-speed users, you can build your audience and take advantage of the explosive growth in the online advertising market.” LEGAL TEAM: Parker’s department comprises 75 attorneys among a staff of 160, mostly in Dulles. Those arrangements are under review as the company adapts to the changing industry. For example, Parker recently created the position of chief privacy officer. “Within our litigation section, we have four groups: civil litigation, criminal litigation-which is more support for law enforcement in assisting them with subpoenas and other needs than actual litigation, of course-public policy and compliance,” Parker said. “On the transaction side-and we probably have two transactional lawyers for every litigation lawyer-that’s where the client is changing the most. The issues we face here as we think about the department are significant. How do we best service our client? Are we using the right model? Should we have lawyers in different big offices around the country? Or should we focus on our centers of excellence-Dulles, New York, Northern California-and put more lawyers there?” OUTSIDE COUNSEL: “We use outside firms primarily for two purposes: litigation other than employment issues and transactions other than what we do in-house, such as mergers and acquisitions, which we don’t have in-house,” Parker said. “We use a lot of law firms, probably most of the downtown [Washington] firms, for example,” but he declined to identify any. “Before I arrived, our philosophy was to spread out our legal work. What we want to look at here is whether there is a more efficient way of handling outside counsel. We need to figure out the best way to do that. My philosophy is that consolidation of legal services among a few firms is probably better than spreading it out among 25 to 30 firms. Also, we’re looking at how to more effectively use outside counsel.” DAILY DUTIES: Parker’s job is to manage the legal department and “make it easy for my lawyers to do their job.” He also advises Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randel A. Falco and other executives on strategic matters. “If you combine those two things together, it makes the job interesting. For in-house lawyers, I think that’s why we came in-house to begin with.” A third role is as chief compliance officer of the company. “If you look at all the various scandals over time, from the [Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.], which had a banking scandal, or Enron or WorldCom or backdating of stock options, you realize that compliance is a critically important function in a company,” Parker said. “In this day and age, you have to have compliance at the forefront. My clients, the CEO, the senior staff and the rest of our employees must operate with the highest standards of ethics, not only for legal reasons but also to maintain the trust of our users.” If that sounds like a lot to juggle, “it’s all a matter of figuring out the right use of your time,” Parker said. “In a big company, a general counsel is more like an orchestra leader. You’re getting involved when things get escalated, but if you orchestrate it right, you can make it work.” ROUTE TO THE TOP: Parker joined AOL in October 2006. He came to the company from Polaroid Corp., where he was vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer. Earlier, he served as president and CEO of Genuity Inc., an Internet infrastructure service provider. He was a vice president and deputy general counsel at GTE Corp. and a partner in the Washington office of Atlanta-based Alston & Bird. Before that, he spent nearly 10 years at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in positions including deputy general counsel for the Resolution Trust Corp. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. His law degree is from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta. “I love the ‘Net and love everything we do here. I love the fact that the law isn’t established. It’s lot of fun. If you’re a lawyer, there’s nothing better. It’s always fun to be on the forefront of making new law.” PERSONAL: Parker was born in New York City. Lately, he’s been shuttling between Dulles and Boston, where his wife of 23 years, Jill, and college-age twin sons, David and Gregory, still live. “So I’ve been spending a lot of time on planes. Thankfully, we’ve had warm weather and no snow. The idea at some point is that she will relocate down here. Even with the boys away, it’s tough to move. When this commuting gets really tiring and I’m burned out on travel, at some point, she will relocate.” LAST BOOK: Seeing What’s Next: Using the Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change, by Clayton M. Christensen. LAST MOVIE: “I saw Borat, and I laughed my head off.”

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