WHERE ARE THEY NOW: The Executives Behind The AOL-Time Warner Merger

steve case levin time warner aolSteve Case and Jerry Levin in happier times

At the end of 2000, with AOL’s stock at a dizzying high, CEO Steve Case decided to merge his company with media giant Time Warner.It was, in a word, a disaster.

We’re talking a loss of more than $150 billion in paper money. Not good.

A little more than a decade later, the executives involved have moved on in most cases.

Some are big successes. Others, less so.

We figured it would be a good time to see where they all landed.

We used a few sources for this story, most notable Vanity Fair’s excerpt of Fools Rush In and The New York Times story published in 2010.

Steve Case was the leader of AOL, and he's done pretty well for himself

He initiated the conversations with Time Warner and made the deal happen through his force of personality.

In 2005, he founded a holding company called Revolution that invested in LivingSocial and purchased Flexcar, which merged with Zipcar. His Revolution Health Group is trying to change healthcare by using technology.

He now serves as chairman of the Startup America Partnership -- appointed by President Barack Obama -- and is also on the President's Council on Jobs & Competitiveness.

Gerald (Jerry) Levin became the CEO of the combined company.

Levin was dead set against letting AOL purchase Time Warner, but eventually settled for a 55-45 split.

When the merger fell apart, Levin was forced into retirement. He moved to California, married former Hollywood agent Laurie Ann Levin, and started Moonview Sanctuary.

Jeffrey Bewkes is the current CEO of Time Warner.

Michael Kelly was AOL's CFO.

Kelly lasted through the merger. He served as chief financial officer of the combined property before leaving in 2004.

UPDATE: We originally had the wrong Michael Kelly. We weren't the first ones to make this mistake.

Ted Turner was Time Warner's the single-biggest shareholder.

Executives initially thought the secret meeting to announce the merger was actually going to be about Turner selling his shares and stepping down from the board.

Turner, of course, has done alright for himself since the early aughts.

AOL vice chairman Ken Novack was Case's closest advisor.

Novack kept his vice chairman title at the new combined property before retiring in 2003.

He's currently an advisor to the chairman and managing partner of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, the firm where he worked before moving to AOL. He is also a director at Time Warner.

Richard Bressler had recently been placed in charge of Time Warner's digital efforts.

As a result, he was an important sounding board for Levin during merger discussions.

He did not last long, decamping for Viacom in May 2001. He joined Thomas H. Lee Partners in 2006 and is currently the managing director there.

AOL president Robert Pittman stepped into the co-chief operating officer role.

Pittman eventually took over the COO gig for his own before departing in 2002.

The MTV founder moved to Pilot Group and is currently CEO of Clear Channel Media Holdings, Inc. He is one of the most successful executives that was involved with the disastrous deal.

Dick Parsons was the other chief operating officer.

The University of Hawaii graduate was another survivor. He took over for Levin as CEO and served in that position until the last day of 2007.

He is currently chairman of Citigroup.

Ted Leonsis was a division president at AOL.

The Internet pioneer joined AOL when the company purchased his Redgate Communications Corp. in 1993.

He retired from the company in 2006, but remains vice chairman emeritus.

Leonsis now owns the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, Verizon centre, and is the chairman of SnagFilms.

Terry Semel was co-CEO of Time Warner's Warner Bros. film and music divisions.

Semel is one of the more controversial executives on this list. After leaving Warner Bros., he joined Yahoo in 2001 and took $110 million in stock options as a bonus. He resigned six years later after losing the confidence of the board.

Semel currently serves on the board of Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, The Paley centre for Media, and the Guggenheim Museum.

Eduardo Mestre served as AOL's lawyer at Saloman Smith Barney.

Mestre was the relatively unknown bank's top media banker. Case took a liking to him after watching him negotiate a few other all-stock deals.

From 2001 through 2004, the Wharton MBA worked as chairman of Citigroup's global investment bank. He joined Evercore Partners, Inc. after and is currently the co-vice chairman.

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