Prime Media chairman steps down, 8 months into the job

Ian McGill, chairman of Prime Media Group has resigned from his post, effective immediately after eight months in the role.

Non-executive director of the company, Cass O’Connor has been nominated as the replacement, and has accepted the appointment as incoming chair.

A lawyer and company director, McGill was a corporate partner at law firm Allens between 1990 and 2020, with specialisation in media and telecommunications industry transactions, policy and regulation and media law reform.

Highlights of his career included advising News Corporation on the establishment of Foxtel and also acted behalf of the commercial television plaintiffs in the High Court case that established the implied constitutional principle of freedom of political communication.

New chair of Prime Media, O’Connor said: “Ian and I have shared a 30 year plus friendly and professional history. I have enjoyed serving on the Prime Board with him, and am disappointed that he is leaving. On behalf of the other directors and all the Prime team, I thank Ian for his service to Prime Media and wish him all the very best”.

McGill said: “It has been a privilege to work with the board and senior management of Prime Media and I am certain that the board is in very good hands under the experienced leadership of Cass O’Connor”.

Speculation regarding a take-over of Prime Media Group has increased in recent months, following WA Chess Investments, Antony Catalano and business partner Alexander Waislitz’s company, increasing its stake in Prime. The pair, who own Australian Community Media (ACM) now have a 22.9% stake in Prime.

In April 2019, Catalano, the real estate entrepreneur bought ACM from Nine for around $115 million, and has since taken a controlling stake in and announced a $100 million joint venture with the property portal, ending ACM’s relationship with Nine’s Domain, where Catalano was once CEO.

Last week, in an interview with Mumbrella editor-at-large and proprietor of Unmade, Tim Burrowes, Jarrod Villani, commercial chief of ViacomCBS said the company would be open to taking over either Prime Media or the TV division of Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) to create a national operation if a deal can be done at the right price.


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