An independent report by Seven West Media into an extra-marital affair by its CEO, Tim Worner, has cleared the boss of any wrongdoing. The report follows the shock resignation of Seven West director, Sheila McGregor, last night.
The review – released to media this morning – was conducted by Richard Harris, a litigation and investigations partner at Allens Linklaters, and looked at allegations that Worner had affairs with as many as four women at the network and charges of repeated cocaine use. However, a final report won’t be made public due to legal reasons.
Worner admitted to an “inappropriate consensual sexual relationship” with Seven staffer Amber Harrison between December 2012 and June 2014 before the married father of four became the Seven boss. Seven management has always sided with Worner and said the affair was a personal matter.
The affair between Worner and Harrison had been known at the network for some time and media has reported that Worner paid $100,000 of his own salary to Harrison’s $350,000 termination pay out. However, it became public just before Christmas after it’s believed Harrison wanted more money to stay quiet.
Seven’s review included interviews with key current and former executives and employees relevant to the allegations and Harrison herself. It said that: “The (Seven) Board has concluded following the receipt of the independent report there are no grounds to take any further disciplinary action against Mr Worner beyond the action which was taken in 2014 when the Company became aware of the inappropriate relationship.
“The Board has addressed all the issues that have been raised and is confident that Mr Worner will continue to run the company in the interests of all shareholders.”
It said, the scandal has been “a tumultuous time for the entire company and with the receipt of the independent review this matter can now be brought to a conclusion.”
The review concluded:
- the company’s identification of significant credit card misuse by Ms Harrison was not instigated by, or on behalf of, Mr Worner or his office and they had no involvement in the investigation.
- Mr Worner did not influence, nor play any role, in the awarding of the bonus to Ms Harrison other than signing the letters which informed her, and other Executive Assistants, of their bonus.
- company funds were not deployed in furthering the relationship by Mr Worner or with his approval. There were no irregularities in Mr Worner’s corporate credit card use.
- the strong and vehement denials by the four employees falsely accused of having an inappropriate relationship with Mr Worner are accepted without reservation and cast doubt on the veracity of other accusations.
- the allegations of illicit drug use by Mr Worner could not be substantiated.
- Mr Worner did not have any involvement in the way the company dealt with Ms Harrison after the relationship between them became known by the company.