Outgoing Marks praised for management style

News of Nine Entertainment Co.’s CEO Hugh Marks’ resignation has been met by praise for Marks and cautious anticipation on who will fill the role.

The abrupt announcement comes after a big week for Nine where it launched Stan Sport, via several multi million dollar broadcast deals, and held an AGM that saw Marks predict a 15% uptick in metro free-to-air ad revenue for the December quarter.

“There is no doubt Hugh Marks will be missed as head of Nine, as he is a good operator,” Nunn Media, managing director – Sydney, Chris Walton told Mumbrella.

Hugh Marks, CEO of Nine resigned officially this morning via an announcement to the ASX.

This was echoed by Pearman Media director, Steve Allen: “Hugh Marks has done a tremendous job at Nine.”

Marks took over the Nine helm from David Gyngell in 2015. During his time in the top job he has overseen the multi-billion-dollar takeover of Fairfax Media (now Nine Publishing), the full acquisition of Macquarie Media (now Nine Radio) and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“NEC is performing well due to the depth and breadth of its management team, so I don’t see any need for immediate concern among advertisers,” said Anthony Ellis, managing director of Publicis Media Exchange (the media investment arm of Publicis Groupe).

“Obviously with any change at the CEO level it ultimately means a shift in approach based on the individual’s new leadership style and focus. Fortunately, the replacement will inherit a stable organisation, a solid management team and a clear long-term strategy.”

Walton was also quick to praise Marks’ management style, telling Mumbrella: “I don’t think there will be an impact in day-to-day operations, at least in the short term. He should be given credit for the understated way he has led the company through a huge amount of change during a time of great uncertainty.

“He demonstrated that you didn’t need to have a loud mouth and a rampant ego to successfully manage a modern-day media company.”

Allen added to that sentiment:”Nine, more so than any of its direct competitors, has continued to evolve, and hang onto senior talent because it continues to evolve. They have made a number of senior management changes this year already. It’s more likely to be an evolution rather than a revolution like at Seven West Media.”

Nine’s board led by chairman Peter Costello will now have the task of finding a new CEO before Marks finishes up in the first half of 2021.

“He had big boots to fill coming in after David Gyngell and was up to the task. His successor will therefore have a similar challenge,” said Walton.

“Fortunately they have a number of internal candidates and some who used to work for Nine,” said Allen, who added that it would be highly unlikely that they would need to look offshore for a replacement.

Ellis told Mumbrella that the market would be looking for the incoming CEO to provide “a clear and consistent strategy” and “provide innovative solutions for advertisers”.

Marks told the Mumbrella 360 audience last year that he had “heaps of people that are brilliantly qualified” to take over from him, at some stage. “When I make myself redundant I will know I have done a great job,” he added.


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