Nine board unites on way forward after damaging fortnight

All Nine staff to undergo sexual harassment prevention training as board vows scrutiny of allegations and apologising to those affected.

A lengthy Board meeting at Nine yesterday addressed allegations of poor behaviour by executives at the media group, but ultimately united behind chief executive Mike Sneesby, despite some reports suggesting “a dead man walking.”

Sneesby, chairman Peter Costello and human resources boss Vanessa Morley released a statement after the five-hour meeting promising scrutiny of the allegations and apologising to those affected.

“It is important we all acknowledge the trauma some of you have experienced in the past, and the distress and frustration the substance of these reports has caused. We also acknowledge and thank those who have come forward to share their experiences with us directly in the last two weeks, and the courage they have shown,” the statement said.

“The group leadership team is united with the board, and working closely, to ensure our workplace is one of respect, safety and inclusion.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that top of an external independent review for television news and current affairs, Nine will establish a dedicated hotline to report sexual harassment, and conduct an organisation-wide independent and anonymous survey.

All employees will have to complete refreshed sexual harassment prevention training.

“These actions were discussed with our board today, which expressed full support and endorsed this approach,” the statement said.

Intersection, an independent, external organisation specialising in trauma-informed workplace cultural transformation, will complete its report by the end of July.

“We want to assure you we will be sharing the report findings and using these to reframe and rebuild the culture in our news and current affairs team,” the statement said.

Sources close to the board said it discussed trying to recoup at least part of a reported nearly $1m payout, to former TV executive Darren Wick, before multiple staff members told media outlets about his conduct.

Much of the payout was made up of entitlements accrued over almost 30 years, sources close to management said. Wick would remain on the books until June.

Sneesby has also faced questions over the departure of former Stan publicity chief Adrian Foo, who was the subject of a review over allegations of inappropriate conduct. Foo left Stan before the review was finished, in May 2023.