Time Warner names Plepler new HBO CEO; Bill Nelson to retire

Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) said Thursday that 20-year HBO veteran Richard Plepler will take over as CEO of the top premium cable network at the end of the year, following the retirement of current chief Bill Nelson.

Plepler, who joined HBO in 1992 has senior VP of corporate communications, had been co-president since 2007. Time Warner said that Eric Kessler, who is also co-president, will serve as president and COO. Michael Lombardo will remain president of programming.

"The company will not miss a step with the new team, which has the combination of talent and experience to drive HBO to new heights of creative excellence, innovation, and financial performance," Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a statement.

While HBO remains the most popular premium cable network, it faces increased competition from Showtime, Starz and online video providers such as Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX). The network has seen increased demand for its HBO Go app, and faces increased pressure from consumer groups to offer the TV Everywhere service as a standalone product.

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