Seven West Media’s Long-Serving Commercial Chief Bruce McWilliam Steps Down

Seven West Media’s Long-Serving Commercial Chief Bruce McWilliam Steps Down

One of Kerry Stokes’ most trusted lieutenants, Bruce McWilliam, has left the business After more than 20 years at Seven West Media (SWM).

McWilliam joined Seven Network as commercial director in May 2003 and has been a key figure advising Stokes on the media company’s strategic direction, legal and business affairs, and commercial success.

“Bruce has been an excellent executive of Seven for the past 21 years, having been involved in all of the major corporate initiatives we have undertaken during that period, and a director of Seven Group Holdings for many years,” Seven West Media executive chairman Kerry Stokes said.

“I thank Bruce for his significant contribution to Seven West Media and Seven Group Holdings and wish him and (his wife) Nicky all the best in the future”.

Outgoing Seven West Media managing director and chief executive officer James Warburton described McWilliam as “a doyen of the media industry and has been a fundamental part of all the corporate moves at Seven for more than two decades”.

McWilliam said he’s had a “fantastic 21 years with Seven” after joining the business around the same time Nine’s former TV chief David Leckie joined to lead the business.

“Working with Kerry Stokes and James Warburton in his two iterations at Seven has never been dull. I’m very proud of my association with Seven and the Seven team, and I wish them every success in the years ahead,” he added. 

Media barons & Malcolm Turnbull

Few TV executives have wielded as much influence over Australia’s media industry as McWilliam.

He spent much of the 80s working for Nine under media baron Kerry Packer, the 90s working at News Corporation under Rupert Murdoch, and the past two decades as Stokes’ right-hand man. 

McWilliam spent nearly two decades working with former Nine boss Sam Chisholm; the pair famously left to join News Corporation’s fledgling British satellite television business BSkyB in the early 90s, where they would preside over the business listing on London and New York stock exchanges.

He also has a long friendship with former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The pair are lawyers by trade, met at law school and would eventually run their own firm, Turnbull McWilliam in the 1980s.

McWilliam’s extensive career was not without controversy. Recently he played a crucial role advising Stokes to defend disgraced former special services soldier and GM of Seven’s Queensland operation, Ben Roberts-Smith, in a failed defamation case against Nine.

The boy from Dapto in country NSW who became one of Australia’s most powerful media executives said he now plans to spend his time focusing on corporate and media advisory, and his vast property empire.

With additional reporting from Arvind Hickman.

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