Citing issues that have arisen out of the merger of AOL Time Warner, merger architect Steve Case has decided to step down as chairman of the company, effective at the annual shareholders meeting in May 2003. Case notified CEO Dick Parsons and the Board of Directors of his decision over the weekend of January 11, 2003. Case said in a statement: "As you might expect, this decision was personally very difficult for me, as I would love to serve as chairman of this great company for many years to come, and as an architect of the merger I have felt it was important that I stay the course as chairman and help get things on track. However, after careful consideration, I believe stepping down is in the best interest of the company." Case stated the main reason behind his decision was that some shareholders continue to blame him personally for the company's post-merger performance. Case will remain a director of the company and will continue to co-chair the merger strategy committee. No replacement has been named for Case, but it is rumored that media mogul Ted Turner may be in line to take over the conglomerate, whose businesses include cable systems, filmed entertainment, television networks, music and publishing. Turner's company TBS, Inc. was merged into Time Warner in 1996. Turner is currently a major shareholder of AOL Time Warner and a member of the board. Other possible contenders mentioned as replacements for Case are board members Stephen F. Bollenbach and Reuben Mark, or AOL Time Warner chief executive Richard D. Parsons.