John Westacott, the longest-serving executive producer of 60 Minutes, has sadly passed away following a medical incident on Sydney Harbour.
Westacott spent 25 years at Nine and retired from the network in 2009. He was known as a driving force of current affairs and a visionary for Nine.
He wasn’t just someone on the pulse of current affairs; he was the heartbeat of current affairs. He was also the driving force behind making Peter Overton the anchor of Sydney’s 6 pm News and responsible for Nine’s signature worm graphic during election debates.
Michael Healy, Nine’s director of TV, and Darren Wick, Nine’s national director of News and Current Affairs, have released a joint statement to honour Westacott: “John Westacott was a trailblazer of Australian journalism.
“Westy was an enigma. There was no one like him. He didn’t care about political correctness and would publicly declare that.
“He didn’t care where you came from, nor about your gender, ethnicity or religious and political beliefs. He cared about whether you had the passion and ability to tell a great story.
“His lifelong love was 60 Minutes. He was fearless as he pushed his team to report some of the greatest stories and interviews Australians have ever seen. And he was ferocious in defending his team against any criticism – externally and internally.
“Westy had a laser-like focus and an incredible intuition on what 60 Minutes meant to Australian viewers and what they wanted to see from the program every Sunday night.
“He was no saint, had a devilish sense of humour, and was a master of mischief. But he was a journalist’s journo and always a generous source of knowledge and insight.
“Westy made Nine a better place. He was a big vision, big picture person who made us all reach for the stars and land on them.
“We will miss him.”