AOL Time Warner Inc.'s CEO Gerald Levin will step down in May 2002 and co-COO Richard Parsons will replace him, the company announced today (Dec. 5). Parsons' fellow COO Robert Pittman will become the

AOL Time Warner Inc.'s CEO Gerald Levin will step down in May 2002 and co-COO Richard Parsons will replace him, the company announced today (Dec. 5). Parsons' fellow COO Robert Pittman will become the sole COO and Steve Case will remain chairman of the company. In a statement, the company said Levin's resignation arose out of a plan that he proposed to the board of directors after year-long discussions with the board over succession planning.

Levin has helped lead the newly merged company -- whose holdings include Warner Music Group labels such as Warner Bros., Atlantic, Reprise, and Elektra -- since the $156 billion deal closed earlier this year. All of the CEOs at the company's divisions, including music chief Roger Ames, will report to Pittman.


Richard ParsonsParsons, 53, becomes one of the few African Americans to hold CEO posts and the only one at a major media company. He was named president of Time Warner in 1995 and oversaw the company's filmed entertainment and music businesses. As COO of AOL Time Warner, he runs its day-to-day operations. Previously he was chairman and CEO of Dime Bancorp., a huge thrift institution.

Levin, 61, began at Time Warner in 1972 and with Charles Dolan, helped form HBO. He become CEO at Time Warner in December 1992.

In his statement, Levin said, "I have the greatest confidence in Dick Parsons' ability to lead the company forward, coalesce its diverse interests, and work with our strategic partners to achieve our ambitious goals. At the same time, Bob Pittman is the best operating executive in the business and it makes perfect sense to expand his responsibilities to include all of the company's day-to-day operations. Dick and Bob's new roles play to their strengths."