Domain’s GM of Victorian operations Trent Casson departs in restructure as company makes a ‘small number’ of redundancies

Domain’s national magazine publisher and general manager of Victorian operations Trent Casson will leave the company in the coming weeks as it looks for operational and business efficiencies in the wake of its separation from Fairfax.

Domain says Casson’s departure is part of its operational review

Nick Falloon, executive chairman of Domain, told staff in an internal email a “small number” of other people would also lose their jobs, but insisted the “operational review is entirely distinct from the ongoing workplace review”, which commenced after allegations former CEO Antony Catalano presided over a problematic and sexist workplace culture. 

Casson joined Domain as part of the Metro Media Publishing acquisition as general manager of sales and editorial. In 2013, when Catalano ascended to the Domain throne as CEO, Casson became chief operating officer. In 2015, he became managing director of Domain Victoria.

Falloon said Casson’s departure came down to operational changes and listed his key achievements for the Domain brand.

“I would like to thank Trent for the significant work he has done for Domain, particularly his role in driving the success of both our Victorian magazines and Review Property agency equity model and overseeing the integration of MMP into Domain’s national functional structure, a project that is now complete,” Falloon said.

He also wished the other employees departing the business the best for the future.

“With regards to the operational changes, the small number of people whose roles have been affected have been informed. As you can understand we needed to think of them first.

“We are grateful for the important contribution they have made to the success of Domain and we wish them all the very best for the future,” the note said.

Falloon said a number of changes would be made across the business’ departments in Sydney and Melbourne, but was keen to avoid any confusion between the operational review, and the cultural review.

“Please let there be no misunderstanding – this operational review is entirely distinct from the ongoing workplace review. As I have said, the workplace review is focussed on ensuring a positive, safe and welcoming working environment and is future focused.”

Domain is still on the hunt for a CEO, following the abrupt resignation of Catalao in January. At the time, Catalano cited family reasons for the exit, which came mere months after Domain separated from the main publishing business last year to become a Fairfax-controlled ASX-listed entity.

Fairfax papers, however, subsequently reported that Domain had a sexist culture which tolerated misbehaviour. The allegations do not directly implicate Catalano as a perpetrator of harassment, but suggest he “oversaw a boys’ club workplace culture”.

The confrontation between Falloon and Catalano about the allegations reportedly led to Catalano’s on-the-spot resignation.

Following Catalano’s departure, Domain released its first results as a separately listed ASX entity, reporting revenue of $112.7m and a net loss after tax of $3.4m in its statutory figures.

An investor then flagged Catalano’s strong relationships with real estate agents the wider industry, and questioned if his departure would harm the business on the follow-up investor call. Falloon, however said there was no impact at all.

“We don’t see any impact at all. We’ve got great relationships with the agents, clearly in Tom Ainsworth [chief sales officer] who’s recently joined us in the last six months. He has continuing relationships.

“We have very strong relationships with all our agents across the whole country and we don’t see any impact whatsoever on that going forward.

“And around the table with me today is a management team with a lot expertise, a lot across the board of this digital business and the relationships are very strong. So we see no ongoing problem there at all.”

Falloon refused to be drawn on when the company would appoint a new leader, saying he would not be constrained by timelines.

“We’re not setting a date or anything, but the search is well underway and we’ll be working through that as and when we can. We’re certainly not waiting, but as to trying to predict how long it will be, I don’t want to [give a timeline],” he said.

He contended, however, that the calibre of candidates is “truly impressive”.


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