UPDATED: Don Voelte has stepped down as CEO of Seven West Media and has been replaced by long-time servant Tim Worner. (You may need to press CTRL+F5 to refresh the page)
Voelte took the role just a year ago when the charismatic David Leckie moved upstairs, but will make way for Worner, who is currently CEO of Seven Network Television, on July 1.
In a statement released this morning Worner said: “This is an exciting time for these businesses. There is no question we are undergoing rapid change in our marketplace and it is clear we must respond to the change.
“But we will do it knowing that these businesses are driven by passion and by people who really care about what they create each day.
“To be able to work even more closely with the best brands and the best people in their respective fields is a privilege. It's a role I am both humbled and thrilled to take on.”
Worner started his career with the company as a journalist, before moving into production, and in 2002 was made the director of programming and production, leading the network to complete ratings dominance in the last seven years.
His new role will see him overseeing the Seven Network, The West Australian, Pacific Magazines and the company’s Yahoo!7 joint venture with Yahoo.
Voelte was a surprise appointment when he took the reins of the company last June, but the former Woodside Petroleum boss, always said his would be a short stay in the CEO seat, after being on the board since 2008.
Some media buyers questioned whether a man without any prior experience in the media sector could lead Australia’s largest media company.
Seven West chairman Kerry Stokes said: “Twelve months ago, on behalf of our board, I asked Don Voelte, as one of our non-executive directors, to take on a most challenging role for our business.
“As managing director and CEO of Seven West Media, he has made an outstanding contribution implementing some fundamental changes to ensure our company meets the demands of a rapidly changing media landscape.
“Don has always been quite clear that his management role at Seven West Media was only for the short-term and that his job was to put in place the structures and people that allowed the company to meet the challenges of the future.
“He was honest. He was right on his timings. He has delivered. Don is an outstanding business executive and on behalf of the board, our people, and our shareholders, I thank him. Don will remain closely involved with Seven West Media and I look forward to his continuing role with the company.”
Voelte will take up the role of non-executive deputy chairman on July 1.
He added: "Over the past twelve months, our management and all of our people have stepped up to the plate in a difficult market. We have made tremendous progress. We have the best brands and people in the media. And I know in Tim, we have the right man to lead Seven West Media.”
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