Time Warner Chairman likely to step down

Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons speaks at a forum in New York, February 6, 2007. REUTERS/Chip East

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Warner Inc Chairman Richard Parsons said he is likely to step down in the next year, clearing the path for Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes to assume the role.

During opening remarks at the media company’s annual shareholders meeting in Atlanta, Parsons told shareholders he would be unlikely to still be its chairman by the time of the 2009 annual meeting.

“This is my last shot at this,” Parsons said. “I will be the outgoing chairman after this year, probably.”

He added: “The company is sound. The problems we had when I became CEO are behind us.”

Time Warner Inc shareholders also approved the company’s slate of 12 directors at its annual meeting, but failed to agree to a proposal to require that the roles of chairman and chief executive be split, according to preliminary results, the company said Friday.

About 43 percent of shareholders voted in favor of a proposal to split the role of chairman and CEO.

Bewkes’ employment contract lets him resign with a payout should he not be elected chairman by January 1, 2009. He would also not be bound by a non-compete agreement.

Reporting by Kenneth Li; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Gerald E. McCormick