Stephen M Case, former chairman of AOL Time Warner and seen by many as the principal architect of AOL’s merger with Time Warner in January 2000, survived a shareholder revolt at Friday’s annual meeting of the media mammoth.

Encouraged by Case’s decision to quit the group’s chair before he was pushed [WAMN: 13-Jan-03], a number of disgruntled investors sought to erase his influence entirely by removing him from the board altogether. They were equally eager to oust two of his board henchmen Miles Gilburne and Kenneth Novack.

They failed. Case was re-elected by 78% of the votes cast, Gilburne by 65% and Novack by 82%. But this was no overwhelming expression of confidence – all other AOL TW directors received near-unanimous votes.

In best Sinatra comeback style, Case crooned “the temptation was great” to dwell on the events of the past two years while insisting [all together now …] “brighter days are ahead”.

Among the events during his reign as chairman on which Case preferred not to dwell were the freefall in the group’s stock price, the largest quarterly loss ever seen in corporate America [WAMN: 30-Jan-03] and formal investigations into its accounting practices by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Current chairman/ceo Richard H Parsons paid tribute to Case for these unique achievements: “He led a revolution that introduced a whole era.”

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