Another three senior Mi9 executives are understood to be leaving Nine Entertainment Co.'s digital unit as tension mounts over the direction NEC wants to take the online publisher. AdNews revealed yesterday Mi9's chief operating officer Marc Barnett had resigned.
Richard McLaren, CEO of Mi9's standalone data and analytics group, Tipstone, is leaving along with ninemsn editor-in-chief Hal Crawford and CIO Kelly Ferguson.
*Mi9 boss Alex Parsons has told AdNews since this story was published that Crawford and Ferguson are staying.
The future of Tipstone is uncertain but it had ambitious plans when launched in April to rival data groups like Quantium, part-owned by Woolworths.
It appears much of the strategic focus under former CEO Mark Britt is being unravelled under NEC group sales and marketing boss Peter Wiltshire. NEC's broadcast executives are also said to be squeezing the autonomy Mi9 had when it was a joint venture between NEC and Microsoft. NEC acquired Microsoft's 50% stake in October last year, prior to the media group going public.
Current Mi9 executives are said to be unhappy with NEC's plans and are leaving. Some say an old-school broadcast mindset is being forced on Mi9 while others suggest the digital group was too culturally soft and too focussed on innovation without a strong enough focus on business performance. Either way tension between Mi9 and NEC management is on the rise. "It's messy and it going to get messier," one observer told AdNews.
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