‘It doesn’t look that way’: Can Sneesby and the Nine board get on the same page?

As Nine deals with an external investigation and reports that Mike Sneesby is losing favour with the network’s board, speculation has now turned to whether the CEO’s position is still safe.

On a new episode of the Mumbrellacast, editor Neil Griffiths and publisher Adam Lang discussed the controversy surrounding the media giant, which was sparked by claims of “alleged inappropriate behaviour” by former news boss Darren Wick last week.

Since then, Nine has launched an external investigation, and on Monday, a Nine spokesperson confirmed that Sneesby signed off on an almost $1 million payment to Wick upon his retirement, saying Nine chair Peter Costello and the board “did not sign off on the settlement with Darren Wick; it was ­handled within our governance ­processes”, further clarifying, “Mike Sneesby signed off on it”.

Speaking on the podcast, Lang said both the Nine board and Sneesby should be unified on the matter, but that there is clearly “some splintering” given that the $1 million payment to Wick was only signed off by Sneesby.

Given the controversies rival network Seven endured in recent months – including an expenses scandal investigation and a former Spotlight producer claiming the network paid for drugs, sex workers and more to secure an interview with Bruce Lehrmann – which saw James Warburton step down effective immediately in April (months earlier than anticipated), the discussion turned to whether Sneesby’s position as Nine CEO is safe.

“It is possible,” Lang said.

“And you would love to think that the board and the executives will unite together because they’ve all been fully informed along the way [and] made their choices and done so together. It doesn’t look that way because it does not look like a cohesive united position.  It looks like there are differences coming out.

“And that statement around Mike Sneesby signing off on Darren Wick’s payment and it not being known to the chair, that is significant to me.”

Listen to the full episode here.


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