Seven's 'media man of mystery' shows up

David Leckie's replacement, Don Voelte, made a brief opening appearance at Seven West Media's 2013 upfronts presentation last night with a subtle dig at his media rivals and more than a hint that the group will unveil a new structure, new digital products and an overhauled management team at next month's AGM.

“Good evening and I’m Don Voelte, the mystery man of media, and I like it like that,” went Voelte’s opening line.

Voelte’s time on stage was brief but he clearly made a bid to enforce Seven’s financial strength – despite a troubling shareprice – and what will be coming to market in the next month.

“All of our businesses are strong. Gross margins in television are in the high 20s, magazines in the high teens and newspapers right up there at 40%,” said the Seven West Media chief executive.

“They are all the best versus the competition but we are not through. At next month’s AGM we will be able to tell you about new cost and revenue initiatives that will keep us at the forefront of profitability and actually grow a much larger wedge between us and the competition. And we will tell you of a new team in Seven building digital products and new adjacent verticals. It is pretty exciting stuff. “

Voelte capped off his opening comments with a little sting: “You need to be assured that your brand is placed with a company that offers excellent product and content and is not directed or managed by New York hedge funds.”

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