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Case vacates AOL Time Warner chair

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Steve Case is to quit his position as chairman of AOL Time Warner in May claiming his departure is in the "best interest of the company".

Mr Case - one of the architects of the merger between AOL and Time Warner - has become the focus of criticism for many after the giant merger failed to deliver the predicted benefits for investors. The group's share price has fallen by 70 per cent since its merger two years ago.

In recent months there has been much speculation about the future of Mr Case and whether AOL would continue to be joined at the hip of Time Warner.

In September, for example, there was speculation that Mr Case would be unseated from his chair in a boardroom coup. Although that failed to materialise, many believed Mr Case's days were numbered.

In an announcement at the weekend Mr Case explained that his departure would allow the company to focus on moving forward. "This company does not need distractions at this critical time, and given that some shareholders continue to focus their disappointment with the company's post-merger performance on me personally, I have concluded that we should take steps now to avoid the possibility of that effort hindering our ability to pull together as a team and focus fully on our businesses," he said.

And in a pop at his critics and those who feel the AOL / Time Warner union is misguided, Mr Case said: "Despite the current cynical view on Wall Street, there is growing evidence on Main Street that consumers increasingly desire and demand more choice, convenience, and control from the media they consume.

"I will continue to advocate a forward-looking view, so that when the environment and our performance improve, our company will be well positioned to benefit from these trends," he said.

Mr Case will remain a director of AOL Time Warner and continue to co-chair the company's strategy committee. No replacement for his position has yet been named. ®

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