TEN sacks James Warburton as CEO

TEN has sacked James Warburton as CEO after less than 14 months in the role.

j-warburtonThe TEN Board has given notice of termination to James Warburton as CEO and appointed Hamish McLennan as CEO.

Russel Howcroft, who joined the company last month, will act as CEO until March 18.

Warburton has been dismissed after less than 14 months in the role. Warburton was appointed to the role, and dismissed, by TEN Chairman Lachlan Murdoch. But the appointment led to a much publicised legal case with his former employers, the Seven Network, and months of “gardening leave.”

But he already inherited a network plagued with problems, cost-cuts, management problems and a board of multi-billionaires.

Today Lachlan Murdoch, said: “The Board would like to thank James Warburton for his hard work and contribution during what has been a difficult period for the Company and for the broader media sector. He steps down with TEN’s best wishes.”

TEN has appointed Hamish McLennan, Executive Vice President, Office of the Chairman, News Corporation, and Chairman of REA Group Limited as both Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Company. He has a salary of $1,975,000.

“The Board is delighted to have been able to attract a world class CEO with a strong track record to lead TEN,” said Murdoch.

McLennan added: “TEN is a media business with a strong balance sheet and excellent staff. I look forward to leading TEN through a period of creative renewal and financial growth.”

The news comes just a day after former sales boss Mike Morrison said that the public no longer trusted TEN, but a spokesperson branded his comments, “absolute nonsense.”

This post updates.

48 Responses

  1. So the revolving door at Network Ten continues. Not surprised at this at all . They sack the former executives but keep David Mott, eventually he fleaes, they get a new CEO from a Network which is going well so logically a good decision, However having Lachlan their along with the other billionaires wanting to use Ten for their own anterior motives has just left that Network a shell of its former self. If Lachlan stays their the new CEO will not have much luck either. I hope James can find a decent media job again. I doubt Seven will help him out, we all know why. The solution is simple the rest of the shareholders must get rid of the billionaires who have caused Ten serious brand damage and have set the Network back Ten years or more. I don’t have any confidence that another News Limited guy will fix things for Ten mainly because Lachlan will not allow it to protect his interests.

  2. I don’t want Ten to become a FOX(TEL) channel nor change its name to FOX. I mainly agree with J Bar that the majority of Australians probably wouldn’t want that. Ten has been watched by millions of viewers over the years. Foxtel by a small minority. Seems like a suicidal idea.

  3. It appears that the majority of comments posted here agree on one thing;-

    The main problem at Ten is Lachlan Murdoch.

    Ever since he took over it has been one disaster after another.

    If I was a Ten shareholder I’d be demanding his resignation right now.

    Or do the shareholders really want Ten to go the same way as Lachlan’s other business he ran?

    Remember OneTel?

  4. In fairness to Mr. Wharburton the ratings failures may have gone to air on his watch, but were commissioned on someone else’s (LM). Who hired JW? It would seem the rot started on the day they sacked Grant Blackley. Is JW the sacrificial lamb to another, as yet unseen/announced LM agenda? FOX10 Australia????????

  5. Seems like this forum has been hijacked by Foxtel goons. So many comments suggesting that Fox should take over Ten. WTF? That is not what the majority of Australians want. They want the Aussie networks to be independent. There is already too much media concentration in this country.

  6. Agree with the rebranding as a Fox network being the best strategy. A clean break away from a tarnished brand that will take forever to rebuild. The Fox branding is strong.

    Don’t know why we persist with names like “Ten” when it means nothing in the digital age. The days of turret tuners on TVs where you’d click the dial around to channels 2, 7, 9, 10, 28 etc are long gone.

  7. If we stop for a moment – and respecting the need for shareholder returns which LM and JW have destroyed let’s consider a few facts:

    1. Many hard working and talented Executives have been sacked,taken retrenchment packages or early retirement due to uninformed decisions by two people,

    2. The Industry and Ten has lost many Leaders and Mentors – what does the new and ambitious group look for and up to ?

    3. The natural state of arrogance drives both Seven and Nine as they maximise a weak Ten which destroys investment and creativity in market,

    4. Production budgets are lost, eliminated or reduced affecting the flow of the media Eco-system.

    Lachlan can run back to Dad, James can sit on an island and the other 200 poor souls can rebuild while the industry ponders it’s disrupted future.

    Let’s think of a few others ahead of yourself.



  8. Ten haven’t sacked just one person. They sacked Mott and 100 other people as well.

    Warburton was appointed by Murdoch to target 16-39s. As the smallest network, they were out bid for The Voice etc., So he and Mott set about creating their own cheap reality TV. EDW, The Shire, Bingle, that drag show contest. Which all failed up against the @l^mp!cs!, The Voice and the X Factor and this was what did the most damage to Ten’s position. And now their 2013 lineup is failing against MKR too and they are only doing OK on Sundays.

    Ten is now targeting 18-49s and now wants new leadership and fresh ideas. Fairly understandable. McLennan’s is a corporate veteran and his first priority will be restructuring to Ten’s new reality.

  9. This man was going to be the guy that was going to bring Ten back, recruiting him from the number one network. He would have thought it was within his scope to have success. He was not allowed to start straight away. Murdoch became fill in CEO and during his 6 months Axed every program that was the core of TEN’s success, The shows that made ten a point of difference. Video Hits, AFL, Late News, One HD Sports. Things that were a threat to his Foxtel. By the time Warburton, actually got there Ten was a basket case thanks to Murdoch’s decisions. James really had no hope. New Programs targeting a younger audience were created because that was Ten’s success in the early 90’s,(mainly due to overseas content – low cost, high profits). But with these axed programs, damage had been done, people had stopped watching TEN. The decision from TEN to target a younger audience was wrong as this market was getting entertained by other media.

    Seven became number one because of mainstream investment in sport, drama, reality, and public affairs.

    Nine has came back from the dead by its investment in Reality (the Voice) and the Olympics.

    Tens investment in 2012 was not mainstream enough.

    Tens investment in 2013 for a basket case of a network is pathetic. Axe people and shows and bring back back same old stuff and hope it will work. They can’t hang there future on M Chef and Biggest looser for ever. MM Murder the only fresh program.

    Clearly the network had to deliver in 2013 to save James’s position. But with no cash to investment in new programs, the guy clearly had no chance.

  10. So sorry Ten Staff and Shareholders. The fact that Lachlan entered the building and got rid of all the professional Broadcast Talent and Management starting with the Chairman and CEO shows his pure unadulterated lack of insight and ability.

    Warburton and his merry men were and are failures. Lachlan should also remember his year at CEO which was instrumental in the slide and loss of value to all.

    Now Rupert has to clean the mess up again by appointing McLennan – a loyal soldier. Lachlan’s at least consistent – OneTel & TenTel.

    Shame on the Board and Regulator and pity the viewer, shareholders and loyal talented staff.

  11. I have never understood Ch10.

    Ch 10 Say they cater for the younger Audience, yet they have Far Right Wing Programmes/Crazy Hosts, which most the younger Audiences don’t and won’t watch, And The Older White Male who would enjoy these programmes don’t watch Ch10. So why produce them? That’s what Sky News is for!

    When ch10 had the AFL they delayed, delayed and delayed there Number 1 Sport. Yet showed 3rd tier sports that my dog wouldn’t watch Live in Prime Time, on One Sport.

    Then Ch 10 wanted to be a news channel, then there not a news channel.

    Like I said I don’t get Ch10, then again I don’t really watch Ch10, who does?

  12. because there problem is there ceo and not the 3 morons who have the biggest share in the network.

    channel 10 always had success with a younger market, but they tried to hard to cater to all the generations and they failed….the project and talking about your generation are/where 2 shows that have been able to cater to a broader audience and continue to do well.

    when the project first started it was almost axed but they stuck it out and it is doing well.your gen failed because they kept changing the time slot.can of worms and the living room have became successful because again there is something for everyone.the circle worked because it cater to woman, and not just the stay at home mums and pensioners but everyone. even the blokes.

    breakfast would have worked if they got rid of Paul and left the show alone.You can’t expect to pull the ratings straight away. you just need to let it happen.the biggest mistake they made was 6pm with George Negus, it should have been on once a week or later in the night.

    @scooott the ship has sunk, they are just trying to salvage the scrap metal. and when did one go from sports to sports, doco and drama. I have been waiting for white collar only to learn it was on one…Glee didn’t perform well? lets move it to 11 and see what happens. and Neighbours needs to either go back to ten or axe it because the story lines are repeating over and over. a new family moves in, parents split up. family moves away.

  13. A fairly irrelevant and unfortunate move. The lead time to instigate substantial change is 6-9 months. This is after all a 4th placed minor network.

    Someone suggested a rebrand to FOXfta…..I agree with that or a similar move. The target demo is pushing massive change and a radical move is essential. Who cares what was happening 5 years ago, its the next 10 that count

  14. He should have been sacked – but what abiout that useless Lachlan Murdoch.

    The rumours that he and the board are deliberately destroying Ten to move more people to Lachlan’s Foxtel is looking more and more likely.

  15. Wow, just wow. Didn’t think that was on the cards just yet. Agree with others that he might not have done a great job but he was given a three-legged dog and told to go and win races. Nothing will change until Murdoch goes.

    Rupert: Here, Hamish, have a drink from this chali-, er…fancy goblet.
    Hamish: Hm, smells a little funny.
    Rupert: Don’t you worry about that. Drink up.

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