- James Warburton will depart in 2024
- Seven crowned as number one TV network
- Chief financial officer to take over in ‘seamless transition’
Seven West Media chief executive and managing director James Warburton will step down from the top job on a high as his successor was announced.
The media company revealed on Thursday that Mr Warburton has advised he will transition out of the role by the end of the 2023-24 financial year after steering its flagship Channel Seven operations to a third consecutive year as Australia’s number one TV network.
Chief financial officer Jeff Howard has been appointed to take over the reigns when his predecessor departs sometime in the first half of 2024.
Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes thanked Mr Warburton for his energy, enthusiasm and outstanding contribution to the role.
Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton (right) will step down from the top job in 2024. He’s pictured with chairman Kerry Stokes (left)
‘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,’
Mr Warburton joined Seven West Media in 2019 having previously worked at Seven between 2003 and 2011.
He then switched rival network Channel Ten where he was being sacked by board in 2013 after just over a year in the top job.
Mr Warburton then served a four year stint as boss of the V8 Supercars.
He said the time for right for Seven West Media to take the next step forward with an ‘exceptionally talented team’ in place.
‘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,’ Mr Warburton said.
‘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.’
‘While I look forward to the next chapter in my career, I am confident I am leaving Seven West Media in excellent hands.’
Outgoing Seven West media boss James Warburton (pictured) previously spent four years at the helm of V8 Supercars
Mr Warburton promised a seamless transition to his successor, who has been in chief financial officer role for almost four years.
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,’ Mr Howard said.
‘Our strategy of premium audience generation and engagement across all of SWM’s platforms will remain at the forefront of everything we do.’
The shock announcement comes days after Seven finished the official 2023 ratings survey year as the most watched TV network across Australia for the third year running.
Seven recorded its second biggest audience share ever – and its best share in five years, thanks to the huge success of SAS Australia, My Kitchen Rules, Farmer Wants A Wife and Dancing With The Stars, which all saw increased audiences in 2023.
James Warburton steered the company’s flagship Channel Seven operations to a third consecutive year as Australia’s number one TV network.