‘I am proud to work for Seven’: CMO Mel Hopkins defends network

Seven West Media’s chief marketing and audience officer, Mel Hopkins, has taken to LinkedIn to share her pride in working for the Seven Network, in response to a post over the weekend from former Huge boss, Mat Baxter.

Baxter’s post described the Seven Network as being “in danger of becoming a liability for clients” due to “the major turmoil” in recent weeks – speculation of CEO James Warburton departing this week, an expenses scandal investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald, a former Spotlight producer claiming the network paid for drugs, sex workers and more to secure an interview with Bruce Lehrmann, to name a few – adding that this has unavoidable consequences for media buyers and clients.

“Put simply, brands never want to be tarnished by controversy or negativity, and this can easily happen by association,” Baxter wrote.

“And so, this is where the danger exists for Seven right now. Sadly, the network doesn’t currently exemplify the qualities (or safety) marketers are looking for. Would you really want your company associated with them in the current circumstances? My guess is most people would say ‘no’.”

On Monday night, Hopkins took to LinkedIn to defend the network, saying she felt compelled to write the post “off the back of a challenge around perhaps ‘not currently exemplifying qualities that marketers are looking for'”.


She wrote: “As a seasoned senior leader who has worked globally and navigated many businesses through complex challenges, reputational challenges and crises, I believe that I am well equipped to provide this narrative.

“I am proud to work for Seven Network and Seven West Media and be a key member of the executive team.

“I am proud of my choice to join this business.

“I am proud to lead my direct team and department and contribute to the leadership of our wider teams and organisation.

“I am proud of the thousands of amazing employees that go over and beyond every single day to deliver content in front of paywall, much of it live, to more than 17 million Australians a month.

“I am proud of the ambition we have as a business, and the hunger to evolve and drive strong profitable outcomes for our advertisers.

“I am proud to be a leader who steps up in adversity and hard times.

“I am proud that our employees, advertisers and viewers are discussed internally every day, all day and we always want to deliver the very best for them – and most days we do.

“I am proud that we ask ourselves how can we be better at what we do every single day,” she listed.

Hopkins acknowledged that some might critique her post and make assumptions, but said she believes that “the strongest leaders know how to lead through challenges and imperfections and never shirk from their responsibilities or the heavy criticism”.

On the latest episode of the Mumbrellacast, Mumbrella’s editor Neil Griffiths and publisher Adam Lang discussed the controversy coming out of the TV giant in recent weeks.

“It’s not really a consumer issue, as in, the millions of people that watch and read and consume their content, that’s probably not of major concern to them. But as trading partners for the business of media and advertising who trade with Seven: ‘Who am I going to be dealing with and who’s running the show?’ That is a change,” Lang said.

“This is more about the employment brand. And so, you can see that the change from James Walburton to Jeff Howard is coming, [that] may be brought forward. And then you look at, well, why would that happen?

“These are big changes and a lot of speculation that maybe through all of that, perhaps it makes sense to change to a new leader earlier than was planned.”

Listen to the full episode here.

Mumbrella has contacted Seven for further comment.


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