Bewkes, who also serves as president of the company, was identified close to two years ago as the leading candidate to take over as CEO upon Parsons's exit. Some investors said they believed tough decisions on spinning off or selling off divisions, including AOL, would more likely to be made by Bewkes.
Spinning off various divisions of the company was at the heart of the company's confrontation with activist investor Carl Icahn two years ago. As part of that fight, Lazard Frères, at the behest of Icahn, authored a report laying out a breakout plan likely to bring immediate gains for shareholders. Lately that plan, while rebuffed at the time of the conflict with Icahn, has been gaining traction within the company. (Click here for details).
That plan included a spin-off of its majority ownership in Time Warner Cable . The Lazard outline also raised the possibility of selling off its publishing unit, Time Inc., as well as the AOL unit.
Some investors say that Bewkes, who had been an outspoken critic of the AOL-Time Warner merger, should seriously consider spinning off part or all of the Internet division, or sell off another stake in Time Warner Cable.
The once-mighty AOL online service has struggled to keep up with faster-moving Google and Yahoo in recent years, and Time Warner is expected to show another slow quarter of AOL advertising sales when it reports financial results on Wednesday.
Gamco Investors's Mario Gabelli, a Time Warner shareholder, expects Bewkes to look at strategy changes, such as a partnership between AOL and Yahoo. He is in favor of the company retaining a major interest in the Internet unit.
"Clearly, something will occur," Gabelli told Reuters last week, ahead of the widely expected announcement. "New CEOs all do something new in the first couple of years."
For its part, Time Warner management has said the company has explored a wide range of potential options, including spinning off the 84 percent-owned cable division completely.
An HBO Veteran
Bewkes, 55, joined HBO in 1979 when cable television was still in its infancy. He rose through the ranks and was named HBO's CEO by 1995, building the network from a second-run movie outlet into a developer of critically acclaimed original TV series such as "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City."