HBO CEO Albrecht Kicked Out After Las Vegas Arrest

By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, May 10, 2007

The chairman and CEO of Time Warner's HBO cable network has resigned after being arrested over the weekend for allegedly assaulting a woman.

Chris Albrecht said he had stepped down "with great regret, at the request of Time Warner."

"I take this step for the benefit of my Home Box Office colleagues, recognizing that I cannot allow my personal circumstances to distract them from the business," Albrecht said in a statement issued late yesterday.

Time Warner Chairman and CEO Richard D. Parsons said in a statement that he and President Jeffrey L. Bewkes "believe that this is the right decision for the Company."

HBO Chief Operating Officer Bill Nelson will take over Albrecht's duties while a search is conducted for a permanent replacement.

Albrecht's 22-year career at HBO began to unravel at 3 a.m. Sunday when he was arrested on misdemeanor charges by Las Vegas police for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in the valet parking lot of the MGM Grand casino hours after a boxing match.

Albrecht was in Las Vegas for Saturday night's fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr., broadcast on pay-per-view by HBO.

On Tuesday, Albrecht announced he would step down temporarily from his HBO post to enter rehab. In a memo to staffers he wrote he'd been "a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for thirteen years" until two years ago, when "I decided that I could handle drinking again. Clearly I was wrong. Given that truth, I have committed myself to sobriety."

In that memo, Albrecht said he was "deeply sorry for what occurred in Las Vegas this weekend and for any embarrassment it caused my family, the company I love and myself."

That same day, Parsons issued a statement saying Albrecht's request for a leave had been granted "pending the resolution of the police incident" in Las Vegas. "We take these matters very seriously and will monitor this situation closely," he said.

What happened between that first round of statements and the second was the publication by the Los Angeles Times of an article detailing an earlier allegation of battery against Albrecht by an HBO employee with whom he had been romantically involved.

That case was settled by mediation in the early '90s, when Bewkes, then HBO's chief operating officer, signed off on the payment of at least $400,000 to Sasha Emerson, the Times reported, noting that Bewkes was in line to take over as CEO next year when Parsons retires.

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