Ted Turner exiting Time Warner board
Founder of CNN and the Turner cable network won't seek re-election; replacing two board seats was part of deal with Icahn.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Time Warner said Friday that Ted Turner, founder of the company's Turner cable networks and its largest individual shareholder, will not seek re-election to the company's board of directors.
"It is after much deliberation that I have decided not to stand for re-election at the annual meeting. I have enjoyed working with Dick Parsons as well as the other board members and the management team," Turner said in a press release.
Time Warner's chairman, Dick Parsons, described Turner in a statement as "a visionary leader who has made an extraordinary contribution to this company and, indeed, to the world at large."
Turner, who held 105 million shares of Time Warner (Research) stock as recently as 2003, now owns only 33.5 million shares, or about 0.7 percent of shares outstanding, according to share tracking service LionShares.
That still makes him the largest individual shareholder, just ahead of the 30.6 million shares held by financier Carl Icahn, who a week ago dropped his efforts to win control of the Time Warner board.
As part of that settlement with Icahn, Time Warner agreed to appoint two independent directors to its board and consult with its major shareholders, including Icahn.
The company also said former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Carla A. Hills will step down in accordance with the board's retirement policy.
Turner, whose first fame came as a sports baron and yachtsman, was chairman of Turner Broadcasting System Inc., when Time Warner Inc. acquired it in 1996 for $7.5 billion, creating the world's largest communications company.
While he has served as vice chairman of Time Warner, Turner has complained at times that he has been shunted aside by the media giant, and he has been critical of some of its past high-ranking executives, including former CEO Gerald Levin and AOL founder Steve Case.
Time Warner, CNNMoney.com's parent company, is the world's largest media firm. Its holdings include Time, Sports Illustrated and Fortune magazines, Warner Brothers and New Line movie studios, America Online Internet division, and the cable channels HBO, CNN and Cartoon Network, among others.
-- from staff and wire reports
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