Stan boss Mike Sneesby has been named as the new Nine Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 April 2021, following the decision by the current CEO, Hugh Marks, to step down.
He was announced before a press conference at a Nine event in North Sydney this morning hosted by NEC Chairman Peter Costello .
“The board and I have every confidence that, under Mike’s leadership, Nine will be able to maintain the significant momentum it has built,” said Costello.
“Mike is well placed to continue to drive Nine’s transformation as a digitally led business which is actively adapting to meet the contemporary media consumption habits of Australians.
“I also want to pay tribute to the remarkable tenure of Hugh Marks, who in 2015, inherited a legacy television business with a market capitalisation of around $1.3bn. Through the combined strength that came from the Nine-Fairfax merger, our current market capitalisation has grown to just over $5bn. This is a remarkable turn-around and Hugh has my sincere thanks and gratitude for his work. His time as CEO has seen Nine make a number of key strategic decisions, which not only redefined Nine but changed the wider media landscape in Australia.”
Mike Sneesby said “I am honoured to be entrusted with this important role, to be the custodian for many of Australia’s most important, valuable and iconic media brands. I have worked alongside my colleagues at Nine for many years and I look forwarding to building our future together as we embrace the opportunities presented in the emerging and growing digital future. The Nine family is made up of journalists, technicians, producers and so many dedicated to their craft, it will be the honour of a lifetime to lead them.”
Hugh Marks will finish his term as Chief Executive Officer on 31 March 2021 and will remain available to assist with a handover to Sneesby in the following months. Marks did not attend the conference this morning with Peter Costello telling media he has been in hospital for several days with an infection, which is “not life-threatening.”
Costello said Sneesby was selected by the Board last week.
“We looked at international candidates. We looked at people from different areas, it was a very exhaustive process. In the end, the board concluded that Mike was the best qualified candidate. Over the last few days, we’ve just been cementing his appointment, as you need to do in relation to these things and we are thrilled with this appointment. Thrilled to have somebody we know, somebody who knows the business,” he said.
“It was an exhaustive process and in the board’s view, and in my view, the best candidate has been appointed.”
Sneesby is yet to outline his early vision for the future of Nine but will look to the company’s objectives across linear, print and digital assets.
“I’d like to spend that period between now and (April) to really understand the organisation, but also to work closely with the Board to set those objectives. I clearly have a view on that. But I think it would be too early for me to be out here shooting off a view on what I think what I think the priorities are in the organisation,” he said.
His appointment comes at a time when the Nine board it itself under scrutiny. This morning the Chairman denied there was any split within its ranks.
“Absolutely I am,” Costello said, adding, “Every member of the board is a valued member of the board.”
A new CEO will be appointed for Stan.
Mr Sneesby is an experienced media executive with a depth of local and international experience. He has been the CEO of Stan Entertainment, since its inception.
Mike was formerly the CEO of the Microsoft/Nine ecommerce joint venture, Cudo, up until its sale in 2013. Prior to that, Mike set up the invision IPTV service in Dubai as Vice President of IPTV for the Saudi Telecom/Astra Malaysia joint venture lntigral. Before joining lntigral, he headed Corporate Strategy and Business Development at ninemsn where he led the company’s corporate strategy function and established a portfolio of high growth digital media businesses including the start-up of MSN New Zealand and management of the EPG and listings business HWW. Prior to ninemsn, Mike led a company-wide program for Optus rolling out and launching their national ADSL broadband network.
Mike spent his earlier career in leadership and consulting positions gaining broad experience in digital media, technology and telecommunications in Australia, Asia and the USA. He holds an Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wollongong and an Masters of Business Administration from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management.
This post updates.