Gerald Levin announced his decision to step down as CEO of AOL Time Warner less than 12 months after assuming the post. In a recent statement, he said, ‘After spending virtually my entire career at this great company, it is obviously a major decision for me to begin this succession process. But, this is a step I have been thinking about for some time and whose time has come. Given that we are almost a full year into the merger and that an outstanding management team is now in place at the company, I am convinced that AOL Time Warner should begin an orderly transition to a new era of leadership.’ Levin’s resignation is effective May 2002.
As part of a six-month senior management succession plan, Richard Parsons, AOL Time Warner’s co-chief operating officer, will replace Levin as CEO. Robert Pittman, the other co-chief operating officer, will handle the position solo. Steve Case will retain his role as chairman.
Edgar Bronfman Jr. will step down as executive vice-chairman of Vivendi Universal, which owns Canal+ and the Universal properties, effective March 2002. Bronfman’s Seagram, Universal Music and Universal Film Studio merged with Vivendi last year. Bronfman will remain on the Vivendi Universal board as vice chairman and will advise chief executive Jean-Marie Messier.
Manfred Keil, head of non-fiction at producer/distributor Igel Media is leaving the Hamburg, Germany-based company at the end of the year. He has not revealed his future plans.
National Geographic Channel has shaken things up: Chad Cohen becomes producer and Rebecca Ratliff becomes line producer of National Geographic Today; Brian Slocum becomes production manager of business development for the marketing department; Nanette Anderson becomes director of scheduling; Courtie Bassarab is director of evaluation; and Paul Miller joins the network as senior writer and producer in brand management.
Jorgen Ramskov has been appointed head of Danish pubcaster DRTV. Ramskov replaces Bjorn Erichsen, who becomes European Broadcasting Union chief January 1.
Lynn Gutstadt has been appointed VP of research for U.S.-based TechTV. Gutstadt previously managed the communications research department of Applied Communications Group and also worked for 10 years at CNN, where she developed the audience research department.