TW puts Levin at helm

Gerald M. Levin was handed the final trappings of power yesterday when Time Warner’s board of directors elected him chairman of the world’s largest entertainment and media company.

At a board meeting yesterday, director’s conferred the top title on Levin.

The former attorney joined Time Inc. in 1972, and rapidly climbed the corporate ladder by turning the fledgling HBO cable operations into a significant business unit. When Time merged with Warner in 1990, he was chief strategist and vice chairman of the publishing giant.

Levin, 53, was named CEO almost a month ago following the death of chairman Steve Ross from cancer. He now holds complete control as chairman, CEO and president of Time Warner.

Attention now turns to Levin’s control of the board. According to sources, as many as three new outside directors are expected to be named by this summer. The evening of Ross’ death, the company announced that the board would be reduced to 12 from 21, reflecting a passing of the guard.

At that time, three Warner executives were asked to step down, while only one Time officer was removed. Under Ross, the board appeared dominated by the Warner side of the business.

The new additions would boost the number to 15. (Daily Variety, Dec. 22, 1992 ).

Levin has reportedly been seeking counsel from the company’s most vocal shareholder, the powerful California Public Employees Retirement Fund, which owns an estimated 1% of Time Warner.

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