Bewkes is Time Warner chairman

Chief exec will succeed Dick Parsons

As Jeff Bewkes wraps up his first year as chief exec of Time Warner, he has also been elected chairman.

The conglom’s board voted to hand Bewkes the baton that Dick Parsons, also Bewkes’ predecessor as chief exec, had held since January. The widely expected move was reported late Thursday.

Bewkes, a longtime Time Warner vet whose rise began at HBO, was elected to the Time Warner board in 2007. He has presided over a difficult period for the conglom, which has seen its share price battered by the economic storm and ongoing weakness at the Time Inc. publishing unit and AOL.

On the upside, Time Warner’s recent sale of its majority stake in Time Warner Cable has netted a dividend of more than $9 billion. That gives the company a bigger war chest than most other media players. Bewkes will become chairman Jan. 1.

“Time Warner is going through a strategic transition to become a more streamlined, content-focused company,” said lead independent director Frank J. Caufield on behalf of the board. “As chairman and CEO, Jeff Bewkes will provide clear, decisive and unified leadership for our company and board as we execute that strategy.”

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