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    Seven confirms James Warburton finished up today

    Seven West Media has confirmed that James Warburton will finish as CEO today, 18 April 2024, after weeks of reports to that effect.

    Warburton resigned in December 2023, at which point Seven said he would finish on or before 30 June 2024. The board met today, and Seven issued a statement to the ASX at 4:17pm confirming Jeff Howard – the network’s former chief financial officer – will be CEO from tomorrow.

    The search for a CFO replacement continues. In the interim, Craig Haskins is acting CFO.

    Chair Kerry Stokes and Howard thanked Warburton “for his contribution to the business over many years”.

    Until now, Seven would not confirm the 18 April departure date. On 8 April, a Seven spokesperson told Mediaweek: “As Seven said in December, James will leave on or before 30 June this year.”

    During his time with Seven, Warburton secured an extension of its AFL agreement, a deal that will last until the end of the 2031 season and is worth $4.5 billion – the biggest broadcast deal in Australian history.

    He also ensured Seven has the FTA cricket rights for the next seven years, including streaming for the first time. Under Warburton, the network also secured coverage of the Matildas at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

    During his final months in the role, Warburton has been a vocal member of the FTA group lobbying for changes to proposed sports anti-siphoning laws. In March, Seven released a consumer-facing campaign urging the government to give Aussies access to free sports content on digital platforms. 

    Warburton’s exit comes the same week as Seven was in the headlines for misidentifying the Bondi Junction attacker, and Justice Michael Lee handed down his judgment in Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation case against Network 10 and Lisa Wilkinson. Seven’s Spotlight program came under the microscope when former producer Taylor Auerbach became a witness for 10 as part of the court case. Former EP Mark Llewellyn left the network in the wake of Auerbach’s evidence.

    This is the second time Warburton has left the network. On 2 March 2011, Warburton, then a Seven sales executive, signed a contract with Network 10. Seven successfully went to the Supreme Court of New South Wales to enforce Warburton’s restraints of trade to prevent him from commencing employment with Network 10 until 14 October 2012, 12 months after his employment with Seven ended.

    Howard will present the FY24 12 months results in August.

    See also: Farewell, James Warburton: Seven West Media CEO’s last day in the office

    The post Seven confirms James Warburton finished up today appeared first on Mediaweek.

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