Bertelsmann CEO to quit AOL board

Thomas Middelhoff to resign from AOL board of directors if Time Warner deal goes through

AOL and Germany's Bertelsmann may be planning to continue their partnerships after AOL buys media giant Time Warner, but Bertelsmann's CEO is planning to resign from AOL's board of directors.

CEO Thomas Middelhoff told CNBC television he will resign from the board if and when the merger goes through, in order to head off being forced out. "You can't have a competitor sitting on your board," Middelhoff said, speaking from the company's headquarters in Guetersloh.

Bertelsmann officials earlier told ZDNet News the company sees its relationship with AOL as unchanged despite AOL's proposed £100m purchase of Time Warner, which directly competes with Bertelsmann in some areas.

Middelhoff said it would be too early to speculate when he will leave the company, but said he will discuss the matter with Steve Case, AOL's CEO.

Despite rumours of more mergers in the wake of AOL-Time Warner, Middelhoff said Bertelsmann plans to remain independent. "There's a new kind of competition, but never is Bertelsmann up for sale," he said.

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