HBO's CEO agrees to step down

Chris Albrecht out three days after arrest on assault charge; chief operating officer to assume position on interim basis.

NEW YORK ( -- Chris Albrecht, chairman and chief executive of HBO, has agreed to step down from his position, parent company Time Warner announced Wednesday.

HBO Chief Operating Officer Bill Nelson will assume Albrecht's duties on an interim basis until the appointment of a new CEO, Time Warner said.

The move comes three days after Albrecht was arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend, and one day after Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons said Albrecht would take a voluntary leave of absence

"With great regret, at the request of Time Warner, I have agreed to step down as chairman and CEO of Home Box Office," Albrecht said in a statement issued by Time Warner, parent company of

"I take this step for the benefit of my Home Box Office colleagues, recognizing that I cannot allow my personal circumstances to distract them from the business," he said.

"I'm very proud of what we have achieved together at Home Box Office, and I wish everybody there many more successes in the future," Albrecht added.

Albrecht's departure followed a report in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times that HBO paid a $400,000 settlement in 1991 to a female subordinate of Albrecht, after she alleged that he shoved and choked her.

The paper, which cited four people with knowledge of the matter, said the settlement was overseen by Jeffrey Bewkes, the Time Warner president who is seen as Parsons' heir apparent, when he was a top HBO executive.

Albrecht became chairman and CEO of HBO in 2002, according to his biography on the Time Warner Web site. He has been with the cable network for nearly 22 years, starting as a West Coast programming executive and eventually overseeing all programming, He was on board when HBO had such programming successes as "The Sopranos," "Sex and the City" and "Six Feet Under." Top of page