Nine’s new Drive CEO, and brand programming for 2022

Mumbrella can reveal that Nine Entertainment Co has appointed Simon Halfhide as the new CEO of its automotive platform, Drive, following the promotion of Alex Parsons as Nine’s chief digital officer in July.

Halfhide has been acting CEO since August, and joined the brand in 2020 as chief financial officer, the position he is promoted into the CEO role from now.

“I’m thrilled to have Simon step up to be CEO of Drive,” said Parsons. “In recent months he has successfully overseen the integration of the Drive brand across our digital presence and he will help take the brand to new levels.”

Alex Parsons with new Drive CEO, Simon Halfhide

Halfhide joined Drive last year from Dentsu Aegis Network (now Dentsu International), where he was head of commercial finance, having also previously been COO of Enero Group’s BMF.

He has hybrid experience with media and marketing experience over the course of his career to date, with roles at Sensis, Fox Interactive Media and Campbell Arnotts.

“I am incredibly excited to be taking over Drive at what is a significant point for the automotive space,” said Halfhide.

“The past 12 months has seen the sector adapt to unprecedented new car demand, and for Drive this has meant the team stepping up and accelerating our growth plans to leverage our strength and leadership in the new car market.”

Drive’s Rebranded Logo

Alongside his appointment, Halfhide has revealed that Drive will be coming to Nine’s TV programming in 2022, with the team working on expanded exposure for the brand.

“Next year will see us further accelerating these plans as we move to bring the Drive brand to the big screen.”

This comes in addition to integrating Drive “across Nine’s digital automotive properties”.

“For some time we have been looking for the right means of bringing the brand to television, and I’m pleased to say that in 2022 Drive will be on the 9Network. We will announce details of the new TV presence early in the new year,” Halfhide said.

Nine relaunched its Drive offering earlier this year, with a new website off the back of announcing a brand refresh for the platform in the back end of 2020. This came after Nine consolidated Drive as its only automotive platform, in turn retiring the CarAdvice brand.

Drive and CarAdvice previously shared content, product and commercial functions across the respective platforms since 2019, and following a Drive rebrand, Nine moved to one brand and one platform.

CarAdvice, which had been owned by Fairfax since 2016, was inherited by Nine when the brands merged in 2018. The brand was retired several months ago.

CarAdvice co-founders Alborz Fallah and Anthony Crawford have since gone on to start up new automotive offering CarExpert, which recently signed a deal with market competitors Seven West Media.

Mumbrella can also confirm that, Mathew McNay, current national sales director at Drive has moved across to CarExpert, following his former bosses. In his role, McNay reported to Brodie Taylor, Drive’s commercial director, having been at CarAdvice since 2015, joining as an account manager.

McNay has been appointed as commercial director at CarExpert, with current commercial director Benn Sykes being promoted into a new chief revenue officer role.

“Mat is a known entity to this business and one we’re hugely excited to have on board. We started this business bringing on board people that are the best at what they do and Mat’s hire is a continuation of that theme,” said Sykes.

Alborz Fallah added: “We’ve admired Mat’s commercial abilities for some time now and with the business and revenue growing at such a substantial rate, making continued investment in the best people is a no-brainer.”

A Drive spokesperson told Mumbrella: “We wish him well.”

Mumbrella last month reported that Andrew Dalton, CEO of CarExpert stood down as CEO after less than two years in the role, with publisher Alborz Fallah taking on the role in the interim.

CarExpert told Mumbrella that Dalton was always planned to step down, and remains a director on the company’s board.

Fellow Nine Entertainment Co stablemate Domain Group, has this week extended its existing syndicated facility agreement. Under the amended facility agreement, which is expected to be available later in the month, the real estate platform will have access to a $355 million across: a four year $5 million revolving contingent instrument facility; a four year $210 million revolving cash advance facility; and a five year $140 million revolving cash advance facility.

The facility will be available to fund general corporate and working capital purposes of the Domain Group including for new acquisitions and meeting ongoing funding investment requirements.

This article was updated after publishing with comments from CarExpert.


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