Foxtel CEO and managing director Richard Freudenstein has joined the board of Australian commercial channel Ten Network as a non-executive director.
This comes after News Corp-backed Foxtel bought into Ten Network Holdings, which was at the time cash-strapped following a period of poor ratings, earlier this year.
Freudenstein’s appointment is effective today, and comes as Christine Holgate, Jack Cowin and Dean Hawkins all retire from board duties, and as the board structure changes to now fit six executives.
Gina Rinehart and Paul Mallam have already resigned from the board at Ten, which welcomed new CEO Paul Anderson in July.
Ten chairman David Gordon thanked Holgate, Cowin and Hawkins for their work during “a particularly difficult period at Ten over the recent years”, noting “the workload and contribution of all directors has been extraordinary”.
Freudenstein said it was an “exciting time” to join Ten’s board, as “recent ratings performances have demonstrated the potential for further audience and revenue growth”.
Freudenstein oversaw Foxtel’s acquisition of rival pay TV service Austar in 2012, and is a board member of the firm’s SVOD service, Presto, of which Ten is also a shareholder.
Hewas formerly CEO of News Digital Media, a digital division of News Corp., an chief executive of The Australian newspaper. Prior to that, he spent six years as COO of UK satcaster BSkyB, which is now controlled by News Corp sister firm 21st Century Fox and known as Sky.
Gordon said Freudenstein’s “wealth of experience in the media industry, both here and overseas, will provide insight and assistance as we continue to develop Ten’s growth strategy into the future”.
In his first address to shareholders, Ten CEO Anderson said the company was “focused on returning to profitability”, and that it would invest in six new locally-produced productions in 2016: Australian Survivor, Long Lost Family, The Wrong Girl, drama event Brock, All Star Family Feud and I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here.
“Maintaining our momentum across all platforms is a key priority for 2016 and we believe we have the content to achieve that,” he said.