Leo Burnett CEO Todd Sampson appointed to Fairfax board



Fairfax Media has made the surprise move of adding adman Todd Sampson to its board after Trade Me founder Sam Morgan decided to retire.

The announcement was quietly slipped out to the Australian Securities Exchange last night, and sees one of the major shareholders, mining magnate Gina Rinehart, passed over again for a seat on the board of the media company.

However, the appointment of Sampson, who has forged a TV career in recent years as a regular panelist on the Gruen series and ABC1’s Redesign my Brain, will be seen as a sign the board which has come under criticism in recent years for a lack of innovative thinking, is eyeing some more innovative thinking.

Fairfax has suffered continual declines in earnings and circulations for its printed products in recent years, with revenues down 0.8 per cent in its half-year results in February. 

Chairman Roger Corbett said in a statement: “We are delighted that Todd Sampson has agreed to join the Fairfax board. We believe that he will bring a deep knowledge of media, marketing, advertising and digital transformation to our board.

“He will also bring his commercial success as the national CEO of Leo Burnett, one of Australia’s most successful communications companies.”

Sampson said: “I am excited to be a part of this important company. I accepted the role because I think I can make a difference.”

Earlier this month the company also announced it was set to cut the majority of its photographers amid a new deal with picture service Getty Images which would see the job outsourced as it looks to cut costs amid a restructure for the digital age, which has seen the company invest in content marketing and events divisions.

Corbett also paid tribute to the contribution of Sam has made an outstanding contribution to the board and to the company’s strategic thinking. we will miss him.

“Sam has decided that it is now time for him to move n to devote more of his time to his philanthropic and business ventures in various parts of the world.”

Alex Hayes



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