Nine CEO Hugh Marks steps down

Former Editor & Content Director
High Marks

Hugh Marks, the CEO of one of the country’s largest media organisations, has announced his departure.

Marks leaves Nine amid a flurry of headlines about his personal life, including the admission he is in a relationship with a former key executive.

Marks took the helm of Nine in 2015, and has since steered it through its multi-billion-dollar takeover of Fairfax Media, the full acquisition of Macquarie Media (now Nine Radio) and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nine inherited the majority share in Macquarie Media – including stations such as 2GB and 3AW – and subsequently took full control.

It has since been transforming the business unit, attempting to widen talk radio’s appeal and offer a more diverse talent lineup.

Marks and Nine’s chairman, former Federal Treasurer Peter Costello, were asked about Marks’ personal life during Nine’s AGM last week, however Marks did not speak on the matter.

Instead, Costello said he was confident no company policies had been breached, and that the issue didn’t warrant further discussion.

On Saturday, however, it appears the issue came to a head, and Marks announced his resignation to staff.

His exact departure date is not clear, but he insisted “of course, I will be around to ensure a smooth transition as the business embarks on its next stage of growth”.

A note on the ASX said his departure will take place in the second half of the financial year.

He did not address the issues surrounding his personal life, however he has since done so with various media outlets, including Nine-owned The Sydney Morning Herald.

“I want to take this opportunity to tell you what a privilege it has been leading this business over a truly transformational period for both the media market generally, and particularly our business,” Marks said in Saturday’s note.

“We have gone from being three separate, legacy media businesses in Nine, Fairfax Media and Macquarie Media, each with their own structural challenges, and created a business that now has a diversified revenue base across both advertising and subscription, and that has a clear growth strategy for decades to come.

“We have demonstrated the importance of great content, be that in the powerful and unique journalism we create every day, across all platforms, or in entertainment, where the shows we build become household names and engage Australians in their millions. Because at the end of the day, we are, and will remain, a content business.”

He said there is no other company with the assets or strategic position of Nine.

In an announcement to the ASX this morning, Costello said Marks had been an extremely successful CEO for Nine and had achieved so much.

“The transformation of Nine to a multi-media and digital business has been all-encompassing and we now have an unreplicable suite of assets, fit to lead us through the digital age,” he said.

“We respect Hugh’s decision, allowing us plenty of notice to work through the next few months, and enable an orderly transition. We wish him well in all his future endeavours.”

The company will conduct an internal and external search for Marks’ replacement, however there are already various high-profile media names being touted as possibilities, including Nine Radio’s managing director Tom Malone.

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17 Nov 2020 - 7:04 am

Losing his job because he had a fling with a staffer. Half the radio industry would lose their jobs if that was the case. Everyone knows of at least one network Head who had an ‘ affair ‘ with another executive.


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