May 4, 2000 8:30 AM PDT

Case to be chairman of merged AOL Time Warner

Steve Case
Gerald Levin
America Online and Time Warner today outlined the chain of command for the pending combination of the world's largest Internet and media companies.

As anticipated, AOL chief executive Steve Case will become chairman of the board for AOL Time Warner, while Time Warner chief executive Gerald Levin will become its CEO. Case will focus primarily on strategic issues involving the company's policy initiatives, global expansion and investments. Levin will focus on day-to-day operations.

Today's announcement is the first concrete indication of the new company's organizational structure, as the pair awaits federal approval for the merger. However, an increasing number of competitors and consumer advocacy groups have begun aggressively lobbying Congress to block the merger. Just last week, several consumer groups filed a petition calling for major restrictions as a condition for merger approval.

Expected appointments also included AOL president Bob Pittman and Time Warner president Richard Parsons as co-chief operating officers, reporting to Levin.

Pittman will oversee the operations of several divisions, including AOL, Time Warner Cable, Time Inc., Home Box Office, Turner Broadcasting System, The WB Television Network and the company's business development. Parsons will oversee Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Warner Music Group and Time Warner Trade Publishing, as well as the legal and human resources departments.

Ted Turner, vice chairman of Time Warner, will become vice chairman and senior adviser to the new company.

The top executive appointments are no surprise to analysts. But Jordan Rohan, a research analyst at Wit Capital, said Pittman's control of the merged companies' primary assets may be significant.

"This clearly positions Pittman as the once and future king," Rohan said.

You've got Time Warner The organization outline also included some new roles. Richard Bressler, chief executive of Time Warner Digital Media, will head a newly formed division dubbed Time Warner Investment Corp. The division will focus on investing and supplying venture capital. Time Warner Digital Media, once the spearhead of the media company's Internet strategy, will be absorbed into the new division under Bressler.

Kenneth Novack, AOL's vice chairman and one of the primary deal-makers for the merger, will become vice chairman of the new company. AOL chief technology officer William Raduchel will become CTO and executive vice president of AOL Time Warner.

The announcement comes on the same day that regulators approved media giant Viacom's $44 billion acquisition of CBS.

AOL and Time Warner expect the merger to close by the fall. The new company will have headquarters in New York.

 

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