Greg Hywood announced as Free TV Australia’s new chairman

Former Fairfax boss Greg Hywood has been appointed to the role of independent chairman at Free TV Australia.

Hywood, a Walkley-award winner, is the first chairman of commercial television’s peak industry group since Harold Mitchell resigned in 2018 amid court action brought against him by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

Greg Hywood

In its announcement, Free TV cited Hywood’s career as one of Australia’s most well-regarded media execs, and said he was instrumental in the turnaround of Fairfax, which he departed in 2018.

Hywood spoke of the importance of commercial television, especially in the current media climate. “Free of charge to all Australians, commercial television is highly valued by the community; even more so through these stressful times,” he said.

“It is the major investor in Australian entertainment content and is a centrepiece of our creative economy. As a trusted source of news and current affairs, free to air television provides a critical role in keeping our community open and transparent.

“I am excited by the opportunity to champion such an important contributor to our culture and economy.”

As chairman, Hywood is set to work closely with the Free TV Australia board and CEO Bridget Fair, who said she was “delighted” with the appointment.

“He has shown that he has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the Free TV sector and the media landscape more broadly. There is no doubt he will add significant insight and value to the work of Free TV in supporting and advancing the important contribution commercial television makes to Australia’s culture and economy,” Fair said.

Free TV Australia logo

Hywood told SMH that his priorities as chairman will involve pushing for further media consolidation and the removal of broadcast transmission fees.

The gig is Hywood’s first full-time role since departing Fairfax, though in that time he was tipped as a front-runner to replace Justin Milne as ABC chair.

Given his previous public criticism of the national broadcaster, former ABC staff urged the government to go in a different direction, and he was overlooked in favour of Ita Buttrose for the role.

During his time at Fairfax, Hywood regularly pushed for de-regulation, and also oversaw a shift to a digital-first strategy as part of the Fairfax of the Future Plan, which involved shuttering multiple printing centres and cutting hundreds of jobs.

Hywood was also recently involved with a review of Seven West Media’s Western Australia-based print portfolio. 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.