I found a case of using statesman in modifying AOL Inc. in the following sentence of New York Times (February 8). Statesman to me means a leading politician_ and I understand the word here was used figuratively. But the phrase, AOL is the elder statesman of online access sounds somewhat odd to me. Is this standard or within the range of received usage of stateman? What does statesman mean in this case?
Huffington Post, the liberal-leaning online news site that has been one of the Internet's start-up success stories, said it agreed to a $315 million buyout late Sunday night from AOL Inc., the ‘elder statesman’ of online access and digital content.