Nine’s chief digital officer Alex Parsons to depart, while Helen McCabe is promoted

Nine’s chief digital officer Alex Parsons is set to leave the company after more than a decade.

The news comes after Nine announced a new structure, which saw marketing removed from Parsons’ remit.

Parsons is set to depart after more than a decade with the business

In July, Nine revealed Karen Madden, News Corp’s general manager, trade, marketing and media services would join Nine in November in the newly created role of group marketing director. The appointment meant then chief digital and marketing officer Parsons, would have the new title of chief digital officer.

At the time, Nine chief executive Hugh Marks said: “As the Nine business continues to evolve we felt it important to evolve our approach and centralise the focus of all our marketing activities to increase the effectiveness with which we communicate with our audiences.”

He continued: “The new structure allows Alex to increase our focus both on growing our digital businesses and also driving the development of strategic assets such as 9Now and, as well as our future technology and data offerings.”

In announcing Parsons’ departure this morning, Marks said Parsons had made an enormous contribution to the growth and evolution of the Nine business.

“He has successfully evolved Nine Digital from the business built around the long-term Microsoft joint venture arrangement to the growing content and platform business it is today.”‘

In an email sent to staff today, Marks also noted change was inevitable.

Marks: “Change in the media business is a constant and it is inevitable”

“I want to wish Alex well and thank him sincerely for his significant contribution. He has been a key player in the Nine management team for a number of years and over the past three years has been a driving force in shaping not just the digital business of our future, but our overall business of the future.

“Change in the media business is a constant and it is inevitable. While that change is challenging and complex, both Alex and I believe this presents huge opportunities for the future of our business,” the email said. 

Noting Nine needed to embrace its role as a content business which merged technology and television, Marks said Parsons’ role would not be directly replaced.

“Our television and digital publishing businesses are becoming more integrated in line with our strategy. Working with each other but also owning their own distinct place in our growing content business. And it is in this space that we must continue to invest. Further developing the digital publishing business we already have, and investing in or creating new opportunities that work within the four content pillars of Nine; News, Sport, Entertainment and Lifestyle. Our future is as a digital business,” the email said.

“Reflecting on my comments above we will not seek to replace Alex’s role directly but instead recognise the importance of the components of what is currently known as 9Digital as the foundations of our overall future business. ”

Part of the changes include the promotion of head of lifestyle Helen McCabe who will take on the role of digital content director, reporting directly to Marks.

“Helen and her team have done a stellar job building out 9Honey in less than a year to have more than 1.9m Australians reading it each month,” Marks’ email said. “There is a lot more to this journey in the future.:

Other changes include:

  • Niamh Collins as General Manager of Video including 9Now will now report into Michael Healey as Director of Television, ensuring the seamless acquisition of rights, the continued promotion of 9Now across the whole business and setting it up for key investment into the future.
  • Anna Quinn will move to report into Helen continuing the impressive work driving great audience volumes and helping us package and commercialise those audiences with our sales teams.
  • Christiaan Rutten will move from his current title of Director of Business Strategy and Operations to Digital Chief Operating Officer and will report to Greg Barnes. Christiaan’s existing responsibilities will all be retained but he will now increase his focus on revenue, expenses and ultimately earnings across the digital business to ensure these continue to exceed our expectations.
  • Roxanne Hoad will move to report into Christiaan and continue to drive the audience and product for our digital publishing network which enables us to hit our targets across both audience volumes and ad inventory.
  • Mat Yelavich will also report in Greg and continue to drive all technology aspects of our business forward. There has been great progress across our technology and systems such as 9Galaxy, 9Now and our data capability and we are keen to further accelerate in this space as our application of technology continues to be a strong differentiator.

Parsons said it was time for new challenges.

“I’m immensely proud of everything my team has achieved, particularly in getting back to the top of the commercial news rankings, launching the 9Honey women’s network, launching 9Now and developing our data asset which now has more than four million subscribers,” Parsons noted.

Helen McCabe will be speaking at Mumbrella’s Entertainment Marketing Summit on the podcast’s reinvention and market opportunities. The event, which also features Telstra’s executive director of media Michelle Garra, News Corp’s prestige & lifestyle director Nick Smith, and international theatre producer David Ian, will take place in Sydney on November 30. Click here for more information


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.