AOL CEO brings execs in line

Richard Parsons, the company's newly appointed chief, shifts the chain of command to expand the pool of executives who report directly to him, according to a memo seen by CNET News.com.

A week after ascending the throne, AOL Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons has reorganized the company's upper echelon to expand the pool of executives reporting directly to him, according to a memo seen Friday by CNET News.com.

The changes highlight a consolidation of power among former Time Warner executives. Although America Online technically acquired Time Warner when the pair merged in 2001, the "old media" executives are now in control of the world's largest media and Internet company.

"These changes represent my intention to manage the company through a focus on three areas: our financial performance, our strategy and our people," the memo from Parsons reads.

An AOL representative declined to comment on the memo but confirmed its authenticity.

Bob Kimmit, executive vice president of global and strategic policy, and Bill Raduchel, chief technology officer, will now report to Parsons. The two executives, who originated from AOL, previously reported to Chairman Steve Case.

Parsons also brought longtime Time Warner corporate communications head Edward Adler into his direct reporting line. Adler will now oversee all communications functions for the company, replacing his former boss Kenneth Lerer, an ex-AOL executive who ascended into the AOL Time Warner ranks after the companies merged.

Lerer will take on a newly created position of executive vice president, office of the CEO, where he will work with Parsons and Chief Operating Officer Bob Pittman on "all facets of our business."

Parsons also created chief of staff positions for himself and Case. Assistant General Counsel Paul Washington will become vice president, office of the CEO; the former head of America Online's vertical markets group, Donn Davis, will become senior vice president, office of the chairman. The positions were formed to "strengthen the close interaction" between Parsons' and Case's offices.

In addition, Rob Marcus, senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions, and John Martin, vice president of investor relations, will now report to Chief Financial Officer Wayne Pace. Marcus previously reported to Parsons, and Martin reported to Lerer.

During a shareholders meeting last week, Parsons outlined a five-point plan to get the company "back on track." AOL Time Warner's stock price has dwindled since the merger was announced in January 2000, a phenomenon exacerbated by problems in its AOL unit. The online division has been suffering from revenue declines from the lackluster advertising market, and it has faced investor scrutiny because of slower subscriber growth.

Parsons' executive reshuffling comes follows other high-profile personnel shifts. AOL CEO Barry Schuler was replaced by Pittman in April in an effort to turn the division around. Pittman also named radio veteran Jimmy de Castro to run AOL's flagship service and appointed Time Warner Cable's Bob Sherman as its sales head.

 

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