Ten boss calls it quits
My role complete after Fox deal, says chairman
OUTGOING Ten Network boss Hamish McLennan has declared his work is done, but he could hardly be said to be leaving the third- placed commercial broadcaster in outstanding shape.
Mr McLennan ( pictured) has stepped down from his dual roles of executive chairman and chief executive just two- and- a- half years after being recruited from News Corp, publisher of the Townsville Bulletin, to turn around the struggling free- to- air network.
He said that having negotiated for Foxtel to take a 15 per cent stake in the network, as well as a partnership with the pay TV operator’s Multi Channel Network advertising business, there was no need for him to stay on.
“The strategic arrangements announced on June 15, including the proposed investment by Foxtel in Ten and the transformative agreement with MCN, mean that my role is complete,” he said.
He will be replaced as chief executive by chief financial officer and chief operating officer Paul Anderson, who has been with Ten for 12 years, while former lawyer David Gordon will become the group’s fifth chairman in five years.
Mr McLennan’s tenure as chief executive was relatively short- lived, though it was substantially longer than the 13 months his predecessor James Warburton survived before being axed.
He has led an improvement in ratings, with successes such as Family Feud and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, as well as shifting the network’s focus from the 18- 39 demographic to the more lucrative 25- 54 age bracket.
But Morningstar analyst Brian Han says the network, which posted a $ 264 million first half loss, had not exactly turned around.
“He basically went into a ship in turmoil at the board level, ownership level and operationally and I think whether he has done enough to stabilise the ship we will probably only be able to say in 12 months’ time,” he said.
“Right now it is really a one or two program ratings success, so it is the sustainability of that success that will determine whether he’s made a difference during his tenure.”
Mr McLennan’s departure isn’t a surprise to observers, who say his exit was all but certain after the company announced it would cut its board from 10 to six as part of the Foxtel deal.
Mr McLennan, who was a senior executive with News Corp in New York, remains the chairman of another News Corp controlled company, REA Group, which owns the realestate.com.au website.