Tim Worner has resigned as CEO of Seven West Media to be replaced by James Warburton, former CEO of APN Outdoor, V8 Supercars and Network 10.
Warburton was Seven’s sales boss who defected to become 10’s CEO in 2011 when Worner assumed the role. It led to an ugly court case over the non-compete period. He lasted until 2013 when he was sacked by the 10 board and replaced by Hamish McLennan.
Today he becomes Seven West Media CEO effective immediately.
James Warburton said: “I am delighted to be returning to Seven and I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead to continue to build the business. The foundation of the business is a powerful combination of assets underpinned by outstanding content from Seven Studios, News and our partners in AFL, Cricket, horse racing and the Olympic Games.
“This is an exciting time for Seven as we welcome James back to the company,” Chairman Kerry Stokes said. “James has extensive experience in the industry with knowledge across media, advertising, sports administration, marketing and particularly sales. His passion and energy will reinvigorate the team. We look forward to the contribution he will make.
“I know I speak on behalf of the Board and all of our people in thanking Tim for his hard work,” he said.
“Our industry is more dynamic today than ever, experiencing rapidly evolving market conditions which continue to present us with challenges and opportunities. In reviewing the requirements for the company, the Board has been considering the right mix of skills and experience required to take advantage of opportunities and accelerate into its next phase of growth.
“Tim has been a tireless leader at Seven for more than two decades and has been Chief Executive Officer for the past six years. All parties agree now is the time for change. We are fortunate that James was available to commence immediately.”
Tim Worner has been CEO of SWM since 2011 and previously CEO of Seven Network and Programming Chief. He has a long history associated with Seven’s ratings success, including commissioning numerous hit shows for the network. An affair with executive assistant Amber Harrison became public knowledge in 2017, leading to an apology, a lingering legal battle and criticism of the board over the way it handled the matter. But Kerry Stokes continued to show support for its CEO under siege.
Tim Worner said, “I would like to thank Kerry and the Board for the opportunity they provided me, and their ongoing support and counsel.
“It’s with mixed emotion that I tender my resignation, however Seven – a company I love – is a very different company now from the one I joined 25 years ago. It’s changed faster than ever in these last few years and that’s down to the hard work of the best team in the business. I sincerely thank the team and I wish them absolutely nothing but continued success.”