Outgoing Ten Network boss Hamish McLennan has declared his work is done, but he could hardly be said to be leaving the third-placed commercial broadcaster in outstanding shape.
Mr McLennan has stepped down from his dual roles of executive chairman and chief executive just two and a half years after being recruited from News Corp to turn around the struggling free to air network.
He said that having negotiated for Foxtel to take a 15 per cent stake in the network, as well as a partnership with the pay TV operator’s Multi Channel Network advertising business, there was no need for him to stay on.
“The strategic arrangements announced on June 15, including the proposed investment by Foxtel in Ten and the transformative agreement with MCN, mean that my role is complete,” he said.
He will be replaced as chief executive by the company’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer Paul Anderson, who has been with Ten for 12 years, while former lawyer David Gordon will become the group’s fifth chairman in five years.
Mr McLennan’s tenure as chief executive was relatively short-lived, `though it was substantially longer than the 13 months his predecessor James Warburton survived before being axed.
He has led an improvement in ratings, with successes like Family Feud and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, as well as shifting the network’s focus from the 18-39 demographic to the more lucrative 25-54 year old bracket.
And he’s had to do it while contending with a group of high powered shareholders, including Lachlan Murdoch, Gina Rinehart, James Packer and WIN TV owner Bruce Gordon.
But Morningstar analyst Brian Han says the network, which posted a $264 million first half loss, had not exactly turned around and Mr Anderson and Mr Gordon still had their work cut out for them.
“He basically went into a ship in turmoil at the board level, ownership level and operationally and I think whether he has done enough to stabilise the ship we will probably only be able to say in 12 months time,” he said.
“Right now it is really a one or two program ratings success, so it is the sustainability of that success that will determine whether he’s made a difference during his tenure.”
The company’s share price has remained in the doldrums throughout Mr McLennan’s tenure and was flat at 21 cents as of 1400 AEST.
Mr McLennan’s departure isn’t a surprise to observers, who say his exit from the company’s board was all but certain after the company announced it would cut the number of people on its board from 10 to six as part of the Foxtel deal.
His departure may also be designed to address concerns about the level of control News Corp has over the company, given the presence on its share registry of both Lachlan Murdoch and Foxtel, which is 50 per cent owned by News.
Mr McLennan, who was previously a senior executive with News Corp in New York, remains the chairman of another News controlled company, REA Group, which owns the realestate韩国半永久纹眉会所,韩国半永久纹眉网, website.