Jeffrey Bewkes, the new chief executive of sprawling, stalled media conglomerate Time Warner Inc., hardly fits the mold of a swashbuckling visionary.
Seven years after the disastrous merger with America Online--and the subsequent vaporizing of $125 billion in shareholder equity--the company, its massive shopping mall-cum-headquarters astride Columbus Circle, suffers from a lingering post-traumatic stress disorder. He's supposed to fix that.
Time Warner's battered stock price--which closed at about $18 a share on the day Bewkes's long-anticipated promotion was announced in early November--actually slid below $16 during Bewkes's first week on the job. Soon he'll move down the hall on the eleventh floor of the Time Warner Center from his chief operating officer's lair to the CEO's suite, with its zebrawood finishes and a party-ready terrace with views straight across Central Park and beyond.