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Time Warner Names Nelson HBO CEO

Time Warner named HBO veteran Bill Nelson CEO of the top premium network Tuesday.

Nelson, who has been chief operating officer at HBO since 2002, succeeds Chris Albrecht, who left the network last month after he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend inLas Vegas.

HBO also promoted three executives to the newly created positions of co-president: Harold Akselrad, Eric Kessler and Richard Plepler.

Akselrad will run legal and business affairs, film acquisition and HBO’s technology group, and he will continue to serve as the network’s general counsel, HBO said.

Kessler will run marketing and worldwide distribution of HBO networks and programming, while Plepler is charged with overseeing programming and corporate communications.

“Today’s appointments highlight the depth and strength of HBO’s senior leadership. Each of these executives has been instrumental in HBO’s success over the past 15 years,” Time Warner chairman Richard Parsons said in Tuesday’s announcement. “We’re confident that, under their guidance, HBO’s edge will get even sharper, fresher and more pronounced.”

Nelson, who first joined HBO in 1984 as vice president and assistant controller, was named senior VP and chief financial officer in February 1985.

In 1994, Nelson was promoted to executive VP, and in March 2006, his responsibilities as COO were expanded to include home video and international distribution and Hollywood film acquisitions, HBO said.

Before Tuesday’s announcement, Kessler was president of sales and marketing at HBO, running affiliates sales for HBO and sister premium brand Cinemax. Kessler joined HBO in 1986 as a marketing manager in its home-video division.

Plepler, who joined HBO in 1992, was named executive VP of HBO, charged with creative aspects of the company, in 2002.

“I’ve worked with Bill, Hal, Eric and Richard for many years, and there’s not a more skilled, cohesive or widely respected group of executives in the entertainment industry,” Time Warner president Jeffrey Bewkes said in a prepared statement. “They’ve helped to build HBO into one of the world’s most inventive and intelligent television companies.”