Time Warner reached a five-year extension with Chairman-CEO Jeff Bewkes that will keep him on the job through at least 2017. Bewkes has spun off Time Warner Cable and AOL during his tenure, while
serving as a lead voice in cable’s movement toward TV Everywhere distribution.
He said he's betting on content, and Time Warner has plenty in the TV field with HBO, Turner Broadcasting and the Warner Bros. TV studio. Over the next five years, Bewkes’ biggest challenge may be deciding the fate of Time Inc. and he is no stranger to separations. Turning around CNN is another important mission.
Bewkes has taken the company in an opposite direction from Comcast, but one similar to Cablevision. Comcast has married its cable powerhouse with NBCUniversal, but Cablevision spun off AMC Networks.
Still, Bewkes has said that he views the Comcast acquisition as a validation of an emphasis on content.
Stephen F. Bollenbach, a member of the Time Warner board, stated: "Jeff is a proven visionary when it comes to navigating the digital landscape … he has led the transformation of the company into a content-focused powerhouse while at the same time significantly increasing shareholder value."
Bewkes, who once headed HBO, took over for Dick Parsons as CEO in 2008. He has had a corporate role since 2002.
His new contract includes a base salary and bonus target that are the same, but it includes annual incentive awards linked with shareholder returns. In 2011, Bewkes reportedly earned close to $26 million.
Time Warner shares closed Wednesday at about $45 a share, not far from a 52-week high and up from around $32 a year ago.