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AOL vice chairman to speak to forum

By Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 3, 2003

Many of the executives who belong to the Tampa Bay Technology Forum have endured tough times since the tech bubble burst. But they're likely to feel their problems don't amount to a hill of beans compared with those faced by Ted Leonsis, their guest speaker Wednesday morning.

Leonsis is vice chairman of America Online, back in a key position after being pushed aside in the 1990s. He's in charge of the interactive services division as the nation's largest online service struggles to reinvent itself in a time of slowing membership growth and plunging ad revenues.

Last week, parent AOL Time Warner reported an annual loss of nearly $100-billion, a record for a U.S. corporation, in large part thanks to the online unit's dwindling value.

But Leonsis isn't a quitter. After surviving a harrowing plane ride in the 1980s, Ted Leonsis made a list: 101 Things to Do Before I Die.

The vice chairman of America Online has accomplished about two-thirds of those goals, from starting a family to owning a sports franchise (two actually, the NBA's Washington Wizards and the NHL's Washington Capitals). Tuesday night, his Capitals play the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum, and Leonsis plans to be at the game.

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