What happens to ‘Shingy’ in the Verizon-AOL merger?

Among the questions arising from Verizon Communications Inc.'s plan to buy AOL Inc. is what will happen to “Shingy”?

Shingy is David Shing, an eccentric Australian whose title is AOL’s digital prophet. He travels the globe “to identify new opportunities for the business,” as he puts it on his website,

Shingy also is his handle on Twitter, which buzzed Tuesday with comments and questions about Shingy’s future.

AOL, formerly known for its dial-up Internet service, has evolved into a digital media company with products that include the Huffington Post, advertising space and original video content.


Shingy is paid a six-figure salary for helping AOL figure out how it can succeed in its markets as technology advances, according to a profile of Shingy in November in the New Yorker magazine.

He’s also known for his striking appearance: Long, scattered black hair atop a receding hairline, large, clear-rimmed glasses and, on occasion, nail polish.

But Shingy also has his critics. David Holmes on the website PandoDaily wrote in November that “Shingy is about as boring and unsubversive as any other marketing exec” and is given to “totally bland ad-speak.”

Verizon did not immediately respond to a question about whether Shingy would keep his role after its proposed $4.4-billion purchase of AOL.


News website Quartz quoted one unidentified source close to the transaction as saying: “Shingy’s role will remain in place after the takeover is completed, which is expected to be later this summer.”