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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 November 2007, 11:27 GMT
New Time Warner boss to take over
Richard Parsons
Mr Parsons is the sole survivor of Time Warner's tie-up with AOL
The head of US media giant Time Warner, Richard Parsons, will step down from his position at the end of the year.

In the post since 2002, Mr Parsons has been widely credited with appeasing the warring factions in the firm created by its troubled merger with AOL.

But he has been criticised for not taking more drastic action to boost the firm's long-suffering share price.

He will be replaced by Jeffrey Bewkes, who is currently the firm's chief operating officer.

A former lawyer, Mr Parsons, 59, will remain on the Time Warner board as chairman.

He called Mr Bewkes a "well-respected business executive both inside and outside the company".

"His results-orientated management style and deep industry knowledge will be invaluable as he drives growth at Time Warner," Mr Parsons added.

AOL ills

Time Warner has suffered for years from the legacy of its 2000 tie-up with AOL's global internet network, which promised grand synergies and massive returns.

But months after the deal, sentiment in technology firms suddenly began to turn, leading to the dotcom crash of 2001.

AOL's market value collapsed and despite a number of makeovers, including scrapped subscriptions on e-mail and other services to attract users and thousands of job cuts, the online service still trails rivals such as Google and Yahoo.

Since Mr Parsons took the helm in 2002, he has spent much of his tenure overseeing the repair job, including dealing with accounting problems and scaling back over-enthusiastic financial forecasts.

He saw off activist investor Carl Icahn's campaign to break up the company two years ago and also sold off a number of the company's units, including Warner Music Group, in an effort to streamline operations.

Action required

But many analysts say a more aggressive strategist is now needed to make bolder decisions about the company's future, so it can respond more quickly to changes in the fast-moving technology arena.

Oppenheimer analyst Thomas Eagon believes that the firm, which also owns Warner Bros movie studio and the CNN cable network, could spin off or sell more of its units.

"I don't think there will be immediate impact to operations, although I do think that Jeff is less sentimental about the current structure of the company."

Mr Bewkes, 55, joined satellite channel HBO when cable TV was in its infancy in 1979.

As chief executive for seven years, he oversaw its development into a hugely successful station, which brought hits Sex and the City and the Sopranos to millions of viewers.

As chief operating officer, he oversaw AOL's move from a subscriptions-based service to a public website relying on advertising to boost revenue, in the style of Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN portal.

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03 Aug 06 |  Business
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