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Since the merger, Gerald Levin, the former Chief Executive of Time Warner, resigned his post as Chief Executive of the combined company in January. Then this summer, Robert Pittman, the Chief Operating Officer and Case's lieutenant, resigned as well.
ON HIS CASE!!!
Several AOL Time Warner Directors Seek Removal of Embattled Chairman
Some AOL Time Warner directors are seeking to oust Stephen Case, the company's Chairman, and he is resisting their challenge, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The directors may seek Case's removal as early as a board meeting in New York on Thursday, the Times reported. But Case wants to remain chairman, AOLTW executives close to him said, and he will probably have enough support to forestall an open challenge at the meeting, the Times reported. Shareholders will have the opportunity to vote on his position at the company's annual meeting in the spring.

"There is no basis for any rumors that Steve Case is leaving," Edward Adler, a spokesman for AOLTime Warner, told the Times.

AOLTW executives have acknowledged over the last few months that Case has come under fire from several shareholders angry about his role as architect of AOL's acquisition of Time Warner.

The merger, once thought to infuse Time Warner's old-media business with digital distribution, has instead dragged the company down as growth has stalled, the report said.

Since the merger, Gerald Levin, the former Chief Executive of Time Warner who agreed to the merger, resigned his post as Chief Executive of the combined company in January. Then this summer, Robert Pittman, the Chief Operating Officer and Case's outspoken lieutenant, resigned as well. With Pittman gone and the accounting investigation advancing, disgruntled shareholders have refocused their criticism on Case, the last executive from AOL among top management.

Under terms of the merger, a vote of three-quarters of the board is required to unseat Case as Chairman, so he needs only three allies on the 14-member board to withstand a challenge, the Times reported.

Case, for his part, appears to believe he can convince the unhappy board members and shareholders of his value to the company before the annual meeting in the spring, the Times reported, citing people close to the board. At that time, shareholders will have the opportunity to vote on his position.

Some major shareholders have lobbied the board for an ouster. The Times says, two people who said they had discussed the matter with John Malone, whose Liberty Media is one of AOL Time Warner's largest shareholders, said he would support a removal. A person close to Ted Turner, another of the largest shareholders, said he now favored Case's removal as well, the Times reports.

The movement to oust Case is being pressed by some of the directors from the Time Warner side of the company, according to people close to the board. The Time Warner directors include Stephen F. Bollenbach, Chief Executive of Hilton Hotels; Carla A. Hills, Chief Executive of Hills & Company; Reuben Mark, Chairman of Colgate Palmolive; Michael A. Miles, Chairman of Philip Morris; and Fay Vincent, former commissioner of baseball. Last night some people close to the board said two directors — James L. Barksdale, who joined the AOL board when the company acquired his business, Netscape, and Daniel F. Akerson, Chief Executive of XO Communications — could no longer be counted on to back Case, the Times said.

But, Adler said its AOLTW Chief Executive Richard Parsons still supports Case.

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