CEO roll call

As James Warburton departs Seven's top job, a look back over past TV CEOs.

Today marks the final day for James Warburton (pictured left) as Seven West Media CEO.

He returned to Seven in 2019, having previously been chief sales and digital officer for the network, and CEO at Network 10 for 14 months.

Succeeding Tim Worner he faced a mountain of company debt. During that time SWM has reduced debt, sold assets, bought Prime7 network, faced digital change, secured key sports rights plus Logie Awards, The Voice, Farmer Wants a Wife, Australian Idol, exits from Martin Place and Walsh Bay, signed an NBC / Bravo deal, improved diversity, steered through a pandemic and led the charge for a ratings overhaul.

Seven has also seen a rebuilding of its programming, record ratings from the Matildas and led network share. But there has also been a rollercoaster for SWM shares, and legal skirmishes involving execs and programmes, particularly of late. There were some notable ratings flops such as Blow Up, Million Dollar Island, Plate of Origin, Pooch Perfect, The Proposal and that “captain’s call” of Ultimate Tag.

Yet AFL and Olympics have been big ticks during this era, and Warburton’s knack for securing content -such as pouncing onto The Voice literally while a Nine CEO was on a call telling shareholders it was no longer a priority- has been a big asset.

He is yet to signal his next move, while Chief Financial Officer Jeff Howard (pictured right) will succeed him in the top job.

SWM Chairman, Kerry Stokes, and Jeff Howard both thanked Mr Warburton for his contribution to the business over many years. The search for a new SWM Chief Financial Officer continues. SWM has appointed Craig Haskins as Acting CFO until a successor for Mr Howard can be announced.

As he departs the building, Mediaweek has published a list of commercial TV CEOs from 2000 – 2024 which is worth filing…

Kerry Stokes (acting, later executive chairman)
Maureen Plavsic
Don Volte
David Leckie
Tim Worner
James Warburton
Jeff Howard

David Leckie
David Gyngell
Ian Johnson
Eddie McGuire
Sam Chisholm
David Gyngell
Hugh Marks
Mike Sneesby

Network 10
John McAlpine
Grant Blackley
Lachlan Murdoch (acting, later chairman)
James Warburton
Russel Howcroft (acting, 11 days)
Hamish McLennan
Paul Anderson
Beverley McGarvey and Jarrod Villani
Beverley McGarvey

One Response

  1. … it’s rather amusing seeing Sam sandwiched between Eddie and David like that considering how long he was CEO of 9 back from 1975 before he went to the UK …

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