New CEO for Nine as Gyngell exits

David Gyngell’s run as CEO of Australian commercial broadcaster Nine Entertainment Co. is coming to an end.

Hugh MarksHugh Marks (left) is to replace Gyngell (below right) on November 10, with the latter remaining on the board as a non-executive director.

A CEO switch has long been expected, with industry veteran Marks first tipped for the chief executive post earlier just over a week ago.

Marks has been on the Nine board since January 2013, and currently runs media investment firm Media Venture Partners. He is also chairman of factual production company WildBear Entertainment.

Marks was also chief executive of Southern Star Entertainment, which is now part of Endemol Shine Australia, but left after seven years in 2009.

He owns a talent agency, RGM Artists, held a legal counsel post at Nine and was a director of Nine subsidiary Nine Films and Television.

“On behalf of the board, I warmly welcome Hugh to his new role of chief executive officer,” said Nine Entertainment chairman David Haslingden. “His extensive experience in television, coupled with his detailed knowledge of NEC, made him an obvious replacement for David. We look forward to his experience, his leadership and his sure hand in these challenging but exciting times”.

“We must maintain a core that remains strong and relevant to audiences and advertisers alike, while we invest in new ideas, new platforms and develop new revenues, becoming more local and driving more Australian content,” said Marks in a statement.

david gyngellHaslingden thanked Gyngell for his eight-year spell at Nine, the last five of which have been as chief executive, noting he had been instrumental “significant” restructuring of its finances. Local news reports overnight credited him with saving the firm from financial collapse in 2012.

Gyngell, son of Australian media power-broker Bruce Gyngell, also oversaw the broadcaster’s listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in December 2013.

Howveer, he made headlines for the wrong reasons last year after having a public fist-fight with media tycoon and former Nine owner James Packer outside the latter’s apartment in Bondi Beach, Sydney.

Gyngell described Marks as “an obvious selection as CEO”, adding: “For my part, it’s time. I always say Nine is part of my DNA, and it’s true. From my boyhood alongside my dad, to this day. I love the culture and achievement of this company and I love its people. That won’t change.

“I will remain on the board, and I’ll be happy to offer a little advice or support when it’s sought. It’s now up to Hugh and the team to run the show, and I confidently wish them the very best”.

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