Turner to Quit as AOL Time Warner Vice Chairman

  • by January 29, 2003
Ted Turner, who built a television station into a worldwide empire of cable networks that redefined news and television, said Wednesday that he will resign as vice chairman of AOL Time Warner.

Turner’s resignation comes following a day when AOL Time Warner announced a $45.5 billion charge for its falling value of, among other subsidiaries, America Online. AOL said that without the charge it was able to exceed earnings estimates, citing Warner Bros.’ Lord of the Rings and other entertainment successes.

AOL said Turner was resigning to devote more time to philanthropic interests and what he termed “socially responsible business efforts.”

Turner said, “Over the last five years, it has become even clearer to me how much personal satisfaction I derive from these activities. Therefore, I would like to now devote even more time, effort and resources to them.”

Turner isn’t the first high-profile departure from AOL Time Warner, which has been wracked by financial and other problems since the Internet company merged with media giant Time Warner two years ago. Chairman Steve Case will step down May 16 to be replaced by President and CEO Richard Parsons. Turner’s resignation also takes effect in May.



“I have not come to this decision lightly. As you know, this company has been a significant part of my life for over 50 years. I have the deepest respect for you, the senior management and my fellow members of the board. With this team in place, I am optimistic that the company will be able to move forward and reach its true potential,” Turner wrote Parsons in a letter released Wednesday afternoon by AOL Time Warner.

Platitudes aside, the departure of is expected to have serious consequences among AOL/TW staffers and Wall Street.

“Ted Turner is known for being successful, said Dr. Bill Crawford, CEO of Crawford Performance Solutions, an organizational dynamics consultancy. “When he bails it says he doesn’t have much confidence in the future of the company. It will have an adverse affect on the employees left behind.”

Crawford believes the individual brands at AOL/TW should spotlight their strengths. “If I was seeing a client I would stress that my brand is still solid and not affected by the top level turmoil,” he said.

Parsons applauded Turner for his vision and pioneering spirit.

“Ted’s leadership role in the formation of global media in general and AOL Time Warner in particular is uniquely significant,” Parsons said.

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