Seven West CEO James Warburton departs Australian broadcaster early

James Warburton

Outgoing Seven West Media (SWM) CEO James Warburton has left the company earlier than planned, following a series of scandals engulfing the owner of Australia’s Seven Network.

Warburton resigned in December and had been due to exit the organisation later this year, with CFO Jeff Howard announced as his replacement.

However, his departure has been brought forward as the broadcaster deals with a raft of controversies.

These include allegations that the broadcaster paid for drugs and sex workers to secure an interview with former Liberal Party parliamentary aide Bruce Lehrmann and incorrectly identified the perpetrator of the recent knife attacks in a Sydney shopping centre.

Current CFO Jeff Howard will take over as MD & CEO from Friday, with Craig Haskins named interim CFO.

Kerry Stokes, Seven West’s chairman, praised Warburton’s “contribution to the business over many years” in a statement confirming the move to the Australian stock exchange.

This is the second time that the outgoing chief has exited SWM, having previously work the company from 2003 to 2011, when he left to join rival broadcaster Network Ten as its CEO.

He returned to SWM as CEO and MD in 2019, following the exit of previous incumbent Tim Worner.

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