Key Southern Cross Austereo commercial exec Karen Halligan departs broadcaster for ZO

Karen Halligan

Halligan leaving SCA for ZO.

Southern Cross Austereo’s national commercial director Karen Halligan has left the company for a role as second in command at media agency ZenithOptimedia

Her departure from SCA comes in the same week the broadcaster axed its Sydney and Melbourne general managers Jeremy Simpson and Cathy Thomas with newly installed COO John Kelly taking their role.

Halligan is the first major hire for new ZO CEO Matt James since moving across from Nine Entertainment Co, with chief operating officer Andrew Sherman departing after six years.

Also departing the agency is Ros Allison head of digital at the agency, she will be replaced by Geraldine McDonagh head of digital operations, who has been promoted into the role.

ZenithOptimedia has struggled in recent years with a string of major account losses including Lion, Nestle and Qantas.

“I am so pleased to have a highly respected leader like Karen take the helm of our Sydney operation,” said James. “Karen comes with over 25 years experience spanning both media agencies and media owners here in Australia.

“Her depth and breadth of skills, understanding of the Australian marketplace and Australian consumers will be a critical accelerant to the way we shape our business for the future.”

Halligan has been at SCA for the last 14 months and has previously held senior roles at Bohemia, Slingshot and Mediacom and will start on January 11. She will be replaced by Ivan Curic head of revenue strategy and operations.

She said: “I am really excited to return to a Global Agency during this time of change and disruption. I look forward to working with Matt and the ZenithOptimedia team to help grow the agency and to work with such an exciting client portfolio.”

Gone: Simpson


Thomas: gone.


A spokeswoman for SCA said the departure of  GMs Simpson and Thomas came as part of “recent changes in management structure”.

“SCA would like to sincerely thank Jeremy and Cathy for their long standing commitment and dedication to SCA and we wish them the very best for the future,” she added.

Simpson has been in the role for four years and Thomas for three, having held a number of senior sales roles prior to that.

The departures comes at the end of a year of major change at Southern Cross Austereo with CEO Grant Blackley appointed in May with sales boss Andrea Ingham soon departing after the appointment of former Ignite Media Brands boss Brian Gallagher as chief sales officer.

The broadcaster continues to struggle in the radio ratings with key Sydney FM station 2Day posting a three  per cent audience share in breakfast this week and vaunted drive time talents Hamish and Andy slipping in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth in the final survey of 2015.

Nic Christensen


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