Exclusive: No surprises here, but rule out Eddie McGuire for any return as CEO of Nine.
Following the recent resignation by Hugh Marks, the Hot Seat host has quashed any suggestion of a return to the role he held across 2006- 2007.
“No, I prefer being Chairman than CEO of organisations,” he tells TV Tonight.
“I think Hugh has just been sensational.”
“I think Hugh has just been sensational. I’m really sad. He’s been a long-time colleague and friend. We’ve done a lot of great things together.
“I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve had a really good relationship with all the CEOs that I’ve worked with. Ian Johnson here at Channel Nine (Melbourne) put me on my road to where I am today. I gave the eulogy at his funeral,” he continues.
“David Leckie in Sydney is still a great friend we catch up over the summer. David Gyngell’s one of my best mates in life. Hugh is somebody who has been a great friend and colleague and will remain so. And John Alexander and I are great friends.”
The Nine presenter was CEO for around 18 months, in between two separate terms helmed by friend David Gyngell. But he was given a grilling from Sydney media, and was at the centre of the infamous Jessica Rowe ‘boning’ from Today (he later denied using the term).
Putting in a high-profile presenter as CEO was a bold move at the time.
“The idea was to bring me in as a creative. We had great financial people, a good line-up, but we were going to take on a whole different direction in the the production side of things.
“At one stage I was looking at having an ensemble of actors”
“At one stage I was looking at having an ensemble of actors because I wanted to go heavy into Australian production. That’s why Underbelly came up, which was something I pitched for about four years. At that stage, we weren’t getting much content out of Warner’s (US) … they had a bit of a dry spell.
“But then it was sold and became an accounting exercise, to be perfectly honest. James (Packer) did the deal of the century, getting five and a half a billion and selling off Nine, magazines….
“It’s interesting it’s sort of come back the other way again. The television part of it is great, Stan’s a great part of it, obviously and then Fairfax Media and radio.”
Nine is yet to announce a replacement for Marks but rumoured names include Chris Janz, Mike Sneesby, Amanda Laing, Scott Lorson.
What advice does a former CEO have for a future boss?
“Surround yourself with great people. It’s not a job for one person anymore, and it never was. You need to have obviously all the components, because it’s multifaceted and growing all the time.
“The names I’ve seen all seem eminently credentialed”
“The names I’ve seen all seem eminently credentialed to get in and do it.
“To enjoy it, is the other thing. It’s a really tough job. It absolutely dominates your life. There are very few days where everyone’s singing your praises. But get in and enjoy it for the period that you’re there.
“It’s like any CEO job these days. Very rarely do you probably go longer than five years anyway.”