Vale: David Leckie
Legendary Australian TV executive, who ran both Seven and Nine networks, has died.
Legendary Australian TV executive David Leckie, who ran both Seven and Nine networks, has died aged 70.
He died at Mulberry Farm, Robertson after a long illness this morning, surrounded by family.
“David was the eldest son of Ron and Joyce (deceased) Leckie, brother of Stuart and Ian Leckie, and uncle to nine nieces and nephews and great uncle to four great-nieces and great- nephews,” family said in a statement.
Leckie was a titan in the Australian television industry, with an executive career spanning 40 years from 1977 to 2017.
He joined GTV-9 as a sales executive, was promoted to National Sales Manager, then Nine Network Sales Director in 1982 at TCN-9. In August 1990, he became Managing Director of the Nine Network and CEO from 1994 to 2001.
He joined Seven Network in 2003 and led it to the #1 position in ratings and revenue with a powerful line-up of news, sport and entertainment content.
In 2012 he was replaced by Tim Worner, but continued as a Director and consultant until 2016.
During his reign at Seven, he saw the network gain glory over Nine, ruling with his robust style outspoken views and colourful language. Leckie always gave many journos plenty of column inches with war stories of meetings, lunches, health issues, exec stoushes, corporate and court battles.
At a 2012 programming launch he took aim at his rivals, saying TEN had “one show, a cooking show” while referring to Nine’s schedule as “the yo-yo show.”
Current CEO James Warburton also consulted with Leckie as recently as 2020.
Seven West Media Chairman, Kerry Stokes AC, said: “I had a close association and friendship with David for more than 20 years and finally enticed him to Seven in 2003, when he started the difficult process in turning around the network’s fortunes.
“David achieved the turnaround quickly and effectively, building a winning team, financial and programming model, which delivered us leadership of the TV industry for many years.
“He had a magnificent grasp of television and what people wanted to enjoy, whether it be news and current affairs or light entertainment programming, and he achieved success in every aspect of his leadership of Seven. He leaves a great legacy and I pass on my sympathies to Skye, Harry, Ben and Tim and the rest of his family, who he loved very much.
“Vale my friend David.”
Seven West Media Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, James Warburton, said: “David was a true legend of the Australian media industry and a loved part of the Seven family. Everyone at Seven will miss him enormously.
“Inspiring, engaging, loud, passionate and famously difficult at times, he was an extraordinary sales person and an intuitive TV programmer. Without a doubt he was the best TV executive this country has ever seen and an important influence and mentor for so many people and careers. He was once labelled the last of the rock star CEOs and I’d say that was a pretty good description.
“David was the reason I got into television and was a great friend. My heartfelt sympathies go to Skye and their boys. There will only ever be one David Leckie. It was a great privilege to have known and worked with him.”
Mike Sneesby, CEO of Nine said, “David Leckie was a giant of television. He contributed enormously to the success we all shared with him here at Nine, his instincts and leadership heralded the golden era of Australian television.
“He adored his family and so many of us stayed in touch as a friend even after he left. He set the culture of excellence at Nine that still exists in our DNA today and we thank him for that. We extend our deepest sympathies to wife Skye and his two sons Harry and Ben Leckie.”
Due to COVID restrictions he will be farewelled at a small, private funeral. The service will be live streamed. A celebration will be held as soon as possible, following the lifting of restrictions.
Sad to hear David Leckie is dead.He was a terrific CEO at Nine. Backed me when there was pressure, even from Kerry Packer.
— LaurieOakes (@LaurieOakes) July 20, 2021
Very sad to hear of the passing of David Leckie.
A giant of our great TV industry & the man who gave me enormous opportunities at Channel 9. He had a mighty personality & an extraordinary feel for TV. Thinking of Skye and their boys today.
— Peter Overton (@PeterOverton) July 20, 2021
Big, bold, brash and brilliant…I had the pleasure and privilege of working with the legendary David Leckie and loved every minute. Sending all my love to Skye and the boys. 🙏💙
— Sonia Kruger (@SoniaKruger) July 20, 2021
Vale, David Leckie, former CEO of both Channel Nine and Channel Seven. Died overnight, aged 70.
An unreconstructed, unvarnished man – but a legendary tv executive of his time.
— 💉 Peter FitzSimons💉 (@Peter_Fitz) July 20, 2021
I enjoyed working with Leckie. Enjoyed his company socially too. Yes, he did sack me once –but didn't everybody?
— Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) July 20, 2021
David Leckie had the most brilliant TV mind. I was always in awe of his instinct and his energy. He played to win and that he did. So many of us owe so much to him. Deepest condolences to Skye and their boys.
— Michael Pell (@MichaelPell) July 20, 2021
Sad news one of the country’s legendary TV bosses David Leckie has died. He had the perfect mix of business acumen and showbiz flair. Would take a risk when needed. Could be both scary and caring.
The TV game was richer for his career.
— Peter Ford (@mrpford) July 19, 2021
I’m so very sad about the death of David Leckie – a force, a TV legend, a friend. He didn’t suffer fools. Ever. Ever.
David was the husband of my best friend, Skye Leckie. Sending love to Skye, Harry and Ben.
I remember our last convo. Still a legend then. RIP. #davidleckie 😔🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/x0KXOnHerZ
— Melissa Hoyer (@melissahoyer) July 19, 2021
How I will always remember my mate David Leckie – happy holding court at one of his many Nine boardroom lunches in the nineties. Smart fun infuriating kind and simply one of the greats of Aussie TV. pic.twitter.com/uLiRS52Cyo
— Janine Perrett (@PerrettReport) July 20, 2021
Hearing the news that David Leckie has passed away. My thoughts and love to to Skye and their kids
— David Campbell OAM (@DavidCampbell73) July 19, 2021
David Leckie was a giant of Australian TV. He had a great flair and passion for our industry. He knew the business inside out and was brave enough to follow his gut instinct. I worked under him at Channels 9 and 7. To the average employee he was equal parts charming..and scary!
— NickMcCallum7 (@NickMcCallum7) July 20, 2021
Rest In Peace David Leckie. David has been described as a ‘profound force in television’, however to me,as a young girl starting out in tele,he was nothing but kind, supportive, funny & the precise Captain of the Ship that an employee looks to steer their company to success. https://t.co/rRHgJRs6lz
— Catriona Rowntree (@Catriona_Rtree) July 20, 2021
Sad news with the passing of former chief at CH9,David Leckie. David played a huge role in my TV & radio career, namely convincing Kerry Packer to help me pick up the pieces following my removal from WOF & giving me Catch Phrase .Sympathies to Skye & the family. RIP mate. Burgo.
— John Burgess (@thejohnburgess) July 20, 2021
David was a force of nature and a huge influence in so many careers, including mine. You always knew where you stood with him and that’s not a bad thing when you’re learning your craft. Vale David and thankyou. https://t.co/2AHopQjeji
— tracy grimshaw (@tracygrimshaw) July 20, 2021
You loved your family, television and winning. And we loved you.
Vale David Leckie 😞
— Sarah Stinson (@SARAHSTINSON7) July 20, 2021
David Leckie toughened me up. David also showed me unexpected and extraordinary support at times in my life when others didn’t.
We became great mates.
He had flaws, but the flaws only made him more human.
NO-ONE knew TV better than him.
I will miss my friend.#Davidleckie
— Mark Llewellyn (@archiebombora09) July 20, 2021
A big man who lived, loved and worked big. David had a rare genetic instinct for good television. He was a fearsome negotiator and he was fiercely loyal to his staff. A true giant of the industry. Deepest condolences to Skye and the boys. RIP
— Mark Riley (@Riley7News) July 20, 2021
This post updates.