Updated from 2:32 p.m. EDT

Dick Parsons is on the way out -- officially.

Time Warner

(TWX)

, the world's largest media conglomerate, on Monday confirmed widespread speculation that Jeff Bewkes will take the reins from Parsons as CEO.

The move is effective at the end of the year. Parsons will remain chairman of the company.

The ascension of Bewkes, Time Warner's president and chief operating officer, to CEO has long been expected, but the timing was unclear. In recent weeks, speculation has heated up that the change would be in the near future.

"Today's decision is the culmination of a thoughtful and disciplined process that began in early 2006, when Dick Parsons initially approached the Board to discuss the timetable for the CEO succession," said Robert Clark, chairman of Time Warner's nominating and governance committee.

Parsons' departure likely comes as welcome news on Wall Street, where the CEO is perceived as a force for the status quo. Many investors are hoping that Bewkes will be more willing to restructure the company and get its stock price moving.

Parsons' five-and-a-half-year tenure at Time Warner came at a difficult period for the company following its disastrous 2000 merger with Web giant AOL and before the bursting of the dot-com stock bubble. Since then, shares of Time Warner have been largely stagnant.

Shares of Time Warner were recently up 24 cents, or 1.3%, to $18.12.