Ten ousts misfiring Warburton, brings in Hamish McLennan

Ten ousts misfiring Warburton, brings in Hamish McLennan
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Network Ten has ousted embattled CEO James Warburton after just over a year in the role and replaced him with former global GPY&R boss Hamish McLennan on a $2m-a-year contract.

The network fought for nearly a year to get Warburton freed from his contract at Seven, where he was seen as a rising star of the TV industry, but last year saw the main channel struggle in the ratings race, losing touch with its free-to-air rivals.

McLennan is currently an executive Vice President of News Corporation and is chairman of REA Group, a role he will hold onto at Ten.

He will start work on March 18, with another GPY&R stalwart and recent Ten appointment Russell Howcroft taking the reins in the interim.

Ten chairman Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement: "The board would like to thank James Warburton for his hard work and contribution during what has been a difficult period for the company and for the media sector.

"He steps down with Ten's best wishes."

During his tenure the network has enjoyed a turbulent period, losing viewers and canning a series of misfiring shows attributed to Warburton's design. Their share of ad spend also slipped to a modern low, registering a $12m loss last year.

He also lost sales chief Mike Morrison and chief programmer David Mott during last year.

Murdoch added: "The board is delighted to have been able to attract a world class CEO with a strong track record to lead Ten."

McLennan added: "Ten is a media business with a strong balance sheet and excellent staff. I look forward to leading Ten through a period of creative renewal and financial growth."

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