Free TV Australia appoints Seven West Media’s Bridget Fair as new CEO

Free TV Australia has appointed Bridget Fair as the industry body’s chief executive officer, nine months after the departure of former CEO Brett Savill.

Savill left the lobby group after a four month stint, with Free TV noting it was disappointed Savill was not the right person for the organisation.

Fair will take the helm in 2018.

He replaced Julie Flynn, who retired after 15 years leading the free to air television body.

Since Savill’s departure, Pamela Longstaff took on the role of Free TV acting CEO.

Fair, who has worked as group chief – corporate and regulatory affairs at Seven West Media for the last four years, will commence her new role in February 2018, following the conclusion of Longstaff’s contract.

She has more than 20 years experience leading government relations, business strategy, corporate affairs and commercial negotiations, joining Seven in 2000 as well as holding positions including General Counsel for SBS and legal counsel for the ABC.

Fair is a former chairman of Screenrights, and holds Board positions at Freeview Australia, Free TV Australia and OzTAM.

Free TV Australia chairman Harold Mitchell said the body was honoured a “well-regarded” and “talented professional” has joined the organisation.

“Bridget has over 20 years’ experience in the industry, 17 of those with one of our members, Seven West Media. I’m confident that with energy and drive, Bridget will take Free TV into the new digital media world, navigating all its opportunities and challenges,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell also thanked Longstaff for leading the organisation through a “critical juncture” and undertaking an “extensive review” of the body’s operations.

“Her time at the helm saw us close out media reform, secure the removal of licence fees and set Free TV on a course that will take the organisation into the future. We commend her on an outstanding job,” Mitchell said.

Longstaff said it had been a privilege to lead the industry, particularly through the passing of the media reforms.

“I thank Free TV’s staff, congratulate Bridget and hand over with enormous confidence that the organisation is well placed to represent the industry into the future,” Longstaff said.

Fair said she was looking forward to representing FreeTV.

“Commercial free to air television has a special place in the hearts and homes of millions of Australians. It has unparalleled reach and influence despite the new multi- platform world we find ourselves in and I firmly believe it has a very strong future,” Fair said.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to lead this industry as we continue to innovate and evolve.”

She thanked Seven for her previous 17 years of work experience.

“I am very grateful for the rewarding roles and opportunities I have been given during my time here and I am particularly pleased to be able to maintain a connection with Seven in my new role at FreeTV,” Fair added.

Chairman of Seven West Media Kerry Stokes said he was said to see Fair leave the company, but was delighted to work with her going forward.

“I have enjoyed watching Bridget’s career evolve over the last 17 years with Seven to become the best regulatory executive in the country, with the recent media reforms a testament to her exceptional work”, he added.

Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner described fair as an “outstanding member” of the executive team and a “passionate advocate” for the company.

“I feel certain many politicians and staffers in Canberra will have breathed a little easier once they learnt of Bridget’s resignation,”Worner said.

“Only to take that breath sharply back again once they realised that her legendary lobbying and negotiating skills were not being lost to free to air television.”

Seven West Media will appoint a replacement for Fair in the near future.


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