Parsons is taking over the reins of a mighty media company, but one with huge challenges ahead:
FINISHING THE MERGER
The diplomatic Parsons must seamlessly meld Time Warner's creative culture with AOL's (AOL ) aggressive entrepreneurs. And he must graft AOL's online knowhow onto more traditional media assets.
HITTING FINANCIAL GOALS
AOL's credibility was hurt when it overpromised on 2001 earnings, even as the economy tanked. Investors expect Parsons to set more realistic goals--and meet them.
TAKING ON MICROSOFT
With Microsoft's (MSFT ) .Net strategy posing a direct threat to AOL's core business, Parsons' team will have to break into new markets such as broadband and devices beyond the PC.
Whether or not AOL wins its bid for AT&T Broadband, Parsons will have to rethink AOL's cable strategy. A key piece: building high-speed Internet connections to stream Time Warner music and video.