AOL Time Warner Inc. vice chairman and industry legend Ted Turner became the
latest casualty in the management shakeup at the media giant, resigning from
that post effective in May.
Turner, who had been a vocal opponent of former AOL Time Warner CEO Gerald
Levin and soon-to-be-former chairman Steve Case -- who will also resign in May
-- had been with the company since he merged his Turner Broadcasting System Inc.
with Time Warner Inc. in 1996.
A pioneer in the industry, Turner single-handedly transformed the cable
landscape when he created its first 24-hour news channel, Cable News Network, in
Turner remains the largest individual shareholder of AOL Time Warner with
about 4.8 percent of its stock. It could not be determined if he would remain on
the company's board of directors.
AOL Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons -- who will assume the chairman's post in
May -- said Turner informed him of his decision last night.
"Last night, Ted Turner informed me of his decision to step down from his
executive duties as the company's vice chairman at this May's annual
shareholders meeting," Parsons said on a conference call with analysts
discussing AOL Time Warner's fourth-quarter results.
"Ted's personal decision will allow him to devote more time to his
philanthropic and other interests," Parsons added. This is something he has
been thinking of for a while, and he has concluded that now is the right time to
make more space for his other activities."
"After much reflection, I have decided to resign from my executive duties as vice chairman of AOL Time Warner," Turner said in a prepared statement.
"I have not come to this decision lightly," he added. "As you know, this company has been a significant part of my life for over 50 years ... With this team in place, I am optimistic that the company will be able to move forward and reach its true potential."