NEW YORK — AOL Time Warner exec Richard Bressler is ankling the media giant, the company said Friday, a casualty of the merger earlier this year that left him without a real operating role.
Bressler wasn’t available for comment. But Wall Street speculation says he may well wind up at Viacom, where chief financial officer Fred Reynolds is stepping down to move to the West Coast in another capacity.
Bressler, 43, started at Time Warner in 1989 and was named chief financial officer in 1995. He led the effort to get the company’s balance sheet, especially its debt load — which had been taxed by the mergers of Time and Warner and, later, of Time Warner and Turner — back into shape.
He left that post to run Time Warner Digital Media, a new division meant to oversee Internet strategy, online projects and cooperation among Time Warner’s various divisions. That unit became largely irrelevant after AOL entered the picture.
Bressler didn’t get one of the top jobs at the combined company but eventually was appointed to head AOL Time Warner Investment Corp., an in-house venture capital group. But he wanted an operating role. AOL Time Warner chairman Steve Case and CEO Gerald Levin decided things weren’t working out.
Company vice chairman Kenneth Novack will oversee the venture capital group on an interim basis.