Schuler becomes the chairman and chief executive officer of AOL Time Warner's new Digital Services Development Group. Bob Pittman, AOL Time Warner's chief operating officer-elect, replaces him, returning to the post he held before the AOL Time Warner merger nearly three years ago. Pittman retains his position as AOL Time Warner's chief operating officer-elect.
The new unit of the New York company will focus on interactive products, such as home networking products and online music delivery.
So far, none of AOL Time Warner's existing products or operations have been transferred to the group, and no new products are yet in the works. Schuler is the unit's only employee, according to AOL spokeswoman Tricia Primrose.
AOL Time Warner has been investigating an array of subscription services as a way to maximise profit from its subscribers, which, the company claimed, now total 148 million, from its cable, media and ISP businesses. AOL has 34 million subscribers.
AOL has been a trouble spot in the company's portfolio, plagued by slowing subscriber growth and a weak advertising market, which may have spurred the management shake-up and the launch of a digital division. One of Pittman's top priorities is to get advertising back on track.
AOL Time Warner is also preparing for a changing of the guard in its executive ranks. Next month, COO Richard Parsons will replace Gerald Levin as the company's CEO.