Chris Albrecht, chairman of the pay-cable TV network HBO, was granted a leave of absence by parent company Time Warner on Tuesday pending the outcome of his weekend arrest on a charge of assaulting his girlfriend.
Albrecht, 54, who has served as HBO chairman and CEO since 2002, said in a statement that "the incident" in Las Vegas on Sunday was a "wake-up call" that prompted him to ask for a temporary leave to deal with a recurring drinking problem.
"I had been a sober member of Alcoholic Anonymous for thirteen years," Albrecht wrote. "Two years ago, I decided that I could handle drinking again. Clearly, I was wrong."
Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons said Albrecht was granted a leave, at his request, "pending the resolution" of Albrecht's arrest. "We take these matters very seriously and will monitor this situation closely," Parson said.
HBO's chief operating officer, Bill Nelson, will assume Albrecht's duties for the time being, Time Warner said.
Albrecht was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of domestic battery after police officers observed him assaulting a woman later identified as his girlfriend, said Martin Wright, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
He was booked into the Clark County jail and released on his own recognizance after a "cooling-off" period 12 hours later, Wright said. No court date has been set.
Albrecht was at the MGM Grand for HBO's broadcast of the World Boxing Council's super-welterweight championship boxing match, in which Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated Oscar De La Hoya.
A former New York nightclub proprietor and onetime talent consultant for ABC, Albrecht joined HBO in 1985 as a senior vice president for original programming and has played a key role in the network's transformation into a TV powerhouse.
From 1990 to 1995, he served as president of HBO Independent Productions, which develops and produces comedy series for distribution on HBO and other networks. In 1995, he was promoted to president of original programming.
His tenure at HBO, or Home Box Office, coincided with some of the network's most celebrated series, including "The Sopranos" and "Entourage" and former hit series "Sex and the City" and "Six Feet Under."