A cabal comprising some of the most powerful investors in AOL Time Warmer is huddled in discussion as to how best to remove outgoing chairman Stephen M Case from the group’s board along with two of his closest allies.

Encouraged by Case’s decision to quit the group’s chair before he was pushed [WAMN: 13-Jan-03], the investors now seek to erase his influence entirely after he formally steps down in May. They are equally eager to oust two of his lieutenants and co-directors Miles Gilburne and Kenneth Novack.

According to one of the plotters, they are mulling a straight vote against the trio when they come up for re-election to AOL’s board in May, although the dissidents concede it unlikely they will win a majority. They are hopeful, however, that a significant minority vote against Case and cronies would be sufficiently mortifying to trigger resignations.

Even shorn of the group chairmanship, Case still chairs the board’s influential strategy committee, a position that would command the heights in any battle to prevent the recently threatened spin-off of the group’s ailing America Online unit (which Case headed before its merger two years back with Time Warner). Gilburne and Novak too are senior alumni of the AOL faction.

Insiders report that an increasing number of Kevlar undergarments have been spotted in the AOL executive washrooms.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff