Several AOL Time Warner directors, spurred on by disgruntled shareholders, are pushing to dump chairman Stephen Case, the last top exec from the AOL side of the company, according to a report in today’s New York Times.
Those seeking Case’s removal are said to have the support of major shareholders John Malone and Ted Turner, but Case is resisting the moves and apparently has enough backing to keep his job for now.
Under terms of the merger between AOL and Time Warner, three-quarters of the 14-member board of directors must vote to remove Case from his job as chairman. Thus, Case needs only three allies on the board, in addition to himself, to keep his position.
Some institutional shareholders are upset by the 70% drop in AOL TW stock since the merger. As the result of federal investigations that started this summer into whether AOL improperly inflated revenue figures, some former Time Warner shareholders are beginning to suspect they may have been misled about AOL’s financial situation prior to the merger. Rightly or wrongly, they blame Case.
For his part, however, Case appears confident that he can convince board members and shareholders of his value to the combined company between now and next spring, when stockholders can vote on his job at the annual meeting.