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Turner's board role on the table

AOL Time Warner's board of directors is expected to determine whether Ted Turner will remain a member when it meets this week.

AOL Time Warner on Thursday will convene a scheduled board meeting to determine the final slate of board nominees for the year, possibly including whether Ted Turner remains a member.

Speculation over Turner's future role on the board of directors was heightened Tuesday when the company vice chairman hinted he would consider remaining a member during a breakfast conference in New York. Turner in January announced he would resign as vice chairman, but left his future on the board in the air.

AOL Time Warner spokeswoman Tricia Primrose confirmed that the board will meet on Thursday but would not say whether Turner's future will be on the agenda. However, the meeting will be the last before the company sends out its annual proxy for shareholders to vote on the board nominees for the next fiscal year.

AOL Time Warner CEO "Dick Parsons has been talking to Ted in hopes he will remain on the board," Primrose said.

AOL Time Warner will hold its annual shareholders meeting May 15, when the next slate of board members is elected.

Turner's decision whether or not to stay on the board will likely be determined by the end of Thursday's meeting. Although he has not formally announced a decision, leaving the board could free him up to sell stock to fund his various philanthropic and entrepreneurial ventures. Still, Turner has been selling shares during periods allowed by the board, including the sale of 462,600 shares in February.

For more than a year, Turner has been a critic of the merger between America Online and Time Warner and reportedly orchestrated the ouster of former Chairman Steve Case, though Case will maintain his board membership. Turner was also at odds with former CEO Gerald Levin, airing their differences publicly.

Turner, AOL Time Warner's largest individual shareholder, has witnessed his fortunes plummet along with the company's stock. AOL Time Warner has been crippled by a string of troubling circumstances at the AOL division, including revenue loss and investigations being conducted by federal regulators over its accounting practices.