NEW YORK (AP) _ Time Warner Inc. announced Tuesday, as expected, that Joseph J. Collins would head its cable division, which will be called the Time Warner Cable Group and is the nation's second largest cable system operator.

Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc. had said when they announced plans to merge last March that Collins, the chairman and chief executive of Time's 82 percent-owned American Television and Communications Corp., would head their combined cable operations.

Collins will retain his posts at the Stamford, Conn.-based ATC as well as become chairman and president of Time Warner Cable Group.

Reporting to Collins will be James H. Doolittle, ATC's president and chief operating officer; James L. Gray, president and chief executive of Warner Cable; Richard Aurelio, president of the group's New York City cable operations; and Tommy J. Harris, the Time Inc. controller who has been named vice president of finance for the cable group.

ATC provides cable TV service to 4.3 million homes in 33 states; Warner Cable serves about 1.7 million customers in 22 states. The combined operation is second only to Telecommunications Inc., based in Denver and serving nearly 10 million cable customers.

The newly-named Time Warner owns about 59 percent of Warner's stock following completion of Time's tender offer in July of $70 a share for about half of Warner's stock. It intends to acquire the remainder of Warner's shares later this year in exchange for an as-yet undisclosed package that may include cash, stock and other securities.