Jon Miller was a deeply thoughtful leader. There is no question he'll be missed.
I had resigned from AOL, back in June of this year (no surprise for AOL insiders), for professional as well as personal reasons (which still stand - I'll elucidate in the near future). But I had stayed on in my role because the (then) CEO and the (then) CTO personally asked me to help through the significant transition immediately ahead - and to keep an open mind about the future through that process. I am/was senior enough, and had been entrusted with enough responsibility, that that seemed more than reasonable.
He certainly taught me, personally, a lot about what it takes to run an organization at scale, through significant transformation - I think people forget how differently the Company operated 3 years ago. For example, when I started we had 300+ developers still working on the upkeep of an aging AOL client and hitting quality targets for our Dial network. Now its a dozen or so, from our Bangalore development center, no less - and all core development is about embracing the Web.
And more than that, Jon's a professional, in every positive sense of the word - and in culture of personalities and politics, that's refreshing. I appreciate the time I got with him - as well as the growth opportunities he offered me during his tenure.
Although it became clear by the fall that I was not long for AOL, and though I feel I've been able to positively impact the Company's fortunes, this kind of leadership change is a big deal. I hope they know what they're doing... and more importantly, what they're trying to accomplish. This level of turmoil without clear direction seems a little... I dunno, desperate - and, in my view, furthers AOL from the battle field in which in needs to compete. I hope that's intentional, and that they have a plan (Good luck Randy :))
If I had one complaint of Jon, it would be that he was not able to be involved enough in the day-to-day execution and operations of the Company - AOL would've been better for it. I imagine his responsibilities with Time Warner made that difficult.
You can read more here. Jason sums up the somber surprise well...
Updated: Some clarification on my status at AOL.