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For what it's worth,

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

Steve Case remains chairman of

AOL Time Warner


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, despite the speculation of his imminent demise that's been circulating in the press in recent weeks.

After the market's close Thursday, AOL Time Warner spokeswoman Tricia Primrose confirmed that Case was still chairman, and said that Case's role at AOL Time Warner had never been on the agenda for Thursday's regularly scheduled board meeting. Primrose declined to say what was on the agenda for the bimonthly board meeting Thursday.

With AOL Time Warner's stock withering since the merger of America Online and Time Warner in early 2001, and with the company proving unable to meet financial targets because of online advertising weakness and economic conditions, outsiders have conjectured that Case would depart the company in the footsteps of two other champions of the merger: former AOL Time Warner CEO Jerry Levin and former co-chief operating officer Bob Pittman.

But AOL has steadfastly denied that Case's job was in jeopardy, and in recent days the many stories around the business press about his once "imminent" demise have been softened to claim that his departure is probable in coming months.

Now investors can turn their focus back to the company's sagging performance amid a weak market for advertising and media products. AOL has been shuffling other areas of management furiously in recent months in an effort to turn around its long decline in key financial metrics, including its plunging stock. On Thursday, AOL Time Warner's shares fell 56 cents to close at $12.27.