James Warburton (left), managing director and chief executive officer of Seven West Media, has announced that he will step down at the end of this financial year. Jeff Howard (right), Seven’s current CFO, will replace him.
Kerry Stokes, Seven West’s chairman, said that Howard “has an immense depth of experience and exposure across the broad media industry and the right balance of skills to deal with a dynamic and evolving media landscape. Having worked as SWM’s chief financial officer since January 2020, he is well-positioned to continue the momentum created by James. His commercial knowledge, passion and commitment will ensure a strong performance focus at this critical time of change and innovation for the industry.”
Howard added: “I am delighted to be taking on the role of managing director and chief executive officer, having worked with James for a number of years. James is leaving SWM in a strong position to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead. As we look to the next phase of growth in an ever-changing industry, our focus is on continuing to create great content to be the most connected news, sport and entertainment brand in Australia, while driving value for shareholders. Our strategy of premium audience generation and engagement across all of SWM’s platforms will remain at the forefront of everything we do.”
The chairman thanked Warburton for his contribution to the business over many years. “On behalf of the Board and our people, I would like to thank James for his energy, enthusiasm and outstanding contribution. James came to SWM at a difficult time and has been immensely successful in reinvigorating Seven’s ratings, strengthening the balance sheet and setting Seven up for future success,” he said.
Warburton said: “It has been an incredible journey at SWM and with an exceptionally talented team in place, the time is right for the company to take the next step. I take great pride in the transformation of SWM in recent years and its position as the leader in total TV in both ratings and revenue.
“A significant improvement in the balance sheet and digital earnings, underpinned by long-term AFL and cricket TV and streaming rights, and the acquisition of Prime have given the company a very strong future. I’ve now spent more than 15 years of my professional life working for Seven (in two stints) and I’d like to thank Kerry and Ryan Stokes, the other directors and our major shareholders for the wonderful opportunity and their support.
“Jeff is an extremely talented leader and the transition to him will be seamless. I can’t think of a better person to lead the best media executive team in the business. While I look forward to the next chapter in my career, I am confident I am leaving SWM in excellent hands,” he said.
The search for a new SWM chief financial officer has commenced.
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