James Warburton goes from Seven

By AdNews | 7 December 2023
James Warburton and Jeff Howard.

Seven West Media has appointed CFO Jeff Howard chief executive officer, replacing James Warburton who will step down at the end of the current financial year.

The transition will be effective on or before June 30 next year.

"Having worked as SWM’s chief financial officer since January 2020, he is well positioned to continue the momentum created by James," said Company chair Kerry Stokes.

"His commercial knowledge, passion and commitment will ensure a strong performance focus at this critical time of change and innovation for the industry.” 

Howard said he is delighted to be taking on the role.

"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," Howard said.

"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.” 

Stokes 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,” Stokes 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," Warburton said.

“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."

The search for a new CFO has started.

Seven West Media revenue fell 3% to $1.488 billion in the year to June. Profit was down 31% to $145.75 million.  And shareholders will have to wait as the company keeps dividends on hold given "prevailing market conditions". 

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