In a surprising industry move, Southern Star chief executive officer Rory Callaghan has resigned to pursue new, but undisclosed, opportunities.
Callaghan joined the production company as Director of Programs in 2006 and became CEO when Endemol bought Southern Star in 2009. He previously had senior roles at Granada Australia and the Nine Network.
Southern Star is one of Australia’s leading independent production houses, producing dramas, reality, children’s and entertainment formats including Offspring, Rush, Tangle, Wild Boys, Spirited, Rescue, Paper Giants, Puberty Blues, Beaconsfield, Deal or No Deal, Blue Water High, Love My Way, Blue Heelers, Howzat! The Kerry Packer Story and Big Brother.
Callaghan said: “I feel incredibly privileged to have worked at Australia’s number one TV producer surrounded by so many talented people. I will be leaving behind a company with a phenomenal line up for 2012 including the return of Big Brother, the 11th season of Deal or No Deal, groundbreaking dramas such as Puberty Blues and World Series Cricket, a second series of Bananas in Pyjamas and the all new In Your Dreams from Noel Price; to name just a few.”
Martha Brass, managing director, international operations at Endemol Group said: “During his time with Endemol Rory has overseen a period of sustained success at Southern Star and has been a valued member of our Global Creative Team and International Board. He has nurtured an outstanding team who have set Southern Star on course for yet another year as one of Australia’s top ranking producers. We are extremely grateful for the contribution he has made and wish him every success for the future.”
Callaghan told The Australian, “A new opportunity has come my way.
“They are drawing up a list of replacements and I’m sure they will hire someone good.”
FremantleMedia Australia’s Tim Clucas is already being rumoured as a possible replacement.
Southern Star producer John Edwards said of Callaghan in a statement: “It’s a great legacy. He’ll be greatly missed. He’s a good guy.
“Drama has flourished under his time here. I think there has been about six Southern Star shows on air per year for the last three years.
“I’m sure one of the reasons [for his resignation] is so that Rory can do a little bit more of what I do.”
A departure date is yet to be announced.