In a move financial analysts were expecting all week, Bob Pittman resigned as chief operating officer of AOL Time-Warner Inc. Thursday. At the same time, the company promoted a number of executives from its entertainment division, leading to speculation that Pittman had lost a power struggle at the New York City-based company.
Pittman had just taken full control of the COO position in May, overseeing all AOL Time Warner divisions. Previously, he was co-COO and oversaw the companys subscription services, including AOL.
It is not clear when Pittmans resignation will take effect. He said in a statement that he would stay until a new CEO was in place at the AOL division, though the company has not indicated when that position will be filled. The only reason Pittman gave for leaving was that its “time to take a break” after going through the merger and the 18 months since then.
“Im proud of what we built at AOL and believe that it has a great future,” he said in the statement. “Likewise, I have confidence in AOL Time Warners prospects.”
No successor has been named for Pittman yet, though two other executives were promoted at the company. Don Logan, formerly chairman and CEO of Time Inc., becomes chairman of the new Media & Communications Group, comprising America Online, Time Inc. and Time Warner Cable, as well as the AOL Time Warner Book Group and Interactive Video unit.
And Jeff Bewkes, formerly chairman and CEO of HBO, becomes chairman of the new Entertainment & Networks Group, comprising HBO, New Line Cinema, The WB, Turner Networks, Warner Bros. and Warner Music. The group chairmen will report directly to Richard Parsons, CEO of AOL Time Warner.
Pittman, the creator of MTV, first joined AOL as president and CEO of the companys AOL Networks unit in 1996, though he had joined the AOL board the year before. He eventually became president and COO of AOL until the company merged with Time Warner in 2000.