Ten boss calls it quits

My role com­plete af­ter Fox deal, says chair­man

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - EVAN SCHWARTEN

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.

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