Dentsu Aegis Network’s Sarah Herrod becomes Tennis Australia’s head of communications

Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) has lost its senior public affairs manager, with Sarah Herrod moving to Tennis Australia to become head of corporate and internal communications.

She had been with the organisation for over seven years, and leaves the holding group at a time of change, with CEO Henry Tajer being ousted two weeks ago after less than a year in the role.

Tajer had begun rebuilding and restructuring the network, which included appointing Sue Squillace as CEO of media agency Carat, and making a number of senior roles redundant. The redundancies back in May included Andrew Hewett, who was head of public affairs and communications.

Herrod began the new role at Tennis Australia this month, ahead of the Australian Open, which kicks off in Melbourne on 20 January.

Despite the popularity of the January grand slam, Tennis Australia has faced challenging headlines in recent months.

Former Tennis Australia director and founder of media agency Mitchells – now part of the DAN network under the moniker Dentsu X – Harold Mitchell, is currently in court over allegations he withheld information from the sporting body during negotiations over its broadcast rights. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) alleges Mitchell awarded a five-year broadcast deal to Seven in 2013 without a competitive tender process, and that he passed on confidential information about the interest of its competitors in acquiring the rights.

Mitchell denies the allegations and is fighting them in court.

In addition, Tennis Australia faced a conundrum with former tennis great Margaret Court. The grand slam winner is celebrating the 50th anniversary of her triumph next year, but Tennis Australia has grappled with how to mark the occasion given her controversial and outspoken opposition to homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

DAN has been approached for comment.


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