Five things to know about the new CEO of Nine Hugh Marks

Hugh-MarksOn Tuesday Hugh Marks steps into the hotseat vacated by David Gyngell at the helm of one of Australia’s biggest media companies, Nine Entertainment Co. But who exactly is he? 

Here are five things you need to know about Hugh Marks:

1 – Marks, a director of Nine and former legal counsel with the network who then went on to be CEO of production company Southern Star, has been the strong frontrunner to replace David Gyngell.



In doing so, Marks is thought to have beaten out other internal candidates including chief financial officer Simon Kelly, who has been key to Nine’s financial recovery, and commercial director and group general counsel Amanda Laing, who negotiated the recent NRL deal earlier this years.

Whether they stay, along with chief revenue officer Peter Wiltshire (who is also thought to harbour ambitions to run a media company), will be something that is closely watched in the coming months. All have been key lieutenants to Gyngell, and retaining their services and years of experience could be Marks’ first battle.

2 – He is currently the managing partner for major talent agency RGM Artists, which he co-owns with Southern Cross Austereo CEO Grant Blackley.



The investment is one of a number of ownership and management interests in a number of independent companies producing content for broadcast and pay TV.

Nine has stated Marks will immediately cease to have any day-to-day involvement in RGM and will divest his interests in those businesses. However the RGM Artists stake and close business ties to the SCA boss is already raising eyebrows given media reform is back on the agenda and a Nine/SCA tie up is often touted as one possible/likely outcome of a change in legislation.

3 – Marks is a “content guy”.  It’s often said that good CEO of television networks need to innately understand good content and Nine’s new CEO has that pedigree having previously been CEO of Australia’s largest independent television production and distribution group, Southern Star.

During his time as CEO the company did major productions including: Big Brother for Ten, Love My Way for Foxtel and Deal or No Deal for Seven.

4 – The new Nine boss is not expected to change Gyngell’s strategy significantly.

Nine's rebranded suite of channels

Nine’s rebranded suite of channels

Nine has made some major announcements in recent weeks including a major rebrand, the announcement of lifestyle channel 9Life and its live streaming push 9Now. 

These changes come amid a sales shakeup at Nine with the company moving to a more integrated structure and investing in streaming video player Stan.

In a note to staff this morning Marks wrote: “I’m completely energised to come to the role at such a key time of change and opportunity. NEC makes and distributes great content, through the dedication, creativity and commitment of all of you.  Quality, brand enhancing, engaging content relevant to our audiences is and must always remain our focus.

“We must also keep innovating.  Across our content, our business models, our relationships and through the way we create, publish and exploit our content. NEC has already taken a number of key steps along this path and we will be doing much more as we continue to innovate into the modern, confident, content business that lies ahead.”

5 – He is an excellent golfer.

Jake Mitchell in the Australian today reports Marks has a handicap of eight and noting that on his rise through Nine as a legal counsel it meant that “there was never a lack of senior managers keen to play a round with him.”


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