Southern Cross Austereo taps Nick McKechnie to replace Peter Lewis as CFO



Troubled radio and TV broadcaster Southern Cross Austereo has hired Nick McKechnie to replace Peter Lewis as chief financial officer, a month after Peter Lewis quit the role after just a few weeks. 

McKechnie has held finance jobs at Virgin Media in the UK, and for the last seven years has been head of finance at ConnectEast, the company which manages the Melbourne tollway.

The announcement comes just a day before the company, which issued a profit warning in May blaming poor ratings for its regional TV network and its Today Network radio stations, is due to reveal its full year results.

In it’s warning the company said it expects earnings to be about 10 per cent below last year, blaming its affiliate network Ten for its poor regional ratings, as well as the defection of Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson at the end of last year to rivals Australian Radio Network, which has seen audiences collapse for its Sydney station.

The Australian Financial review reported on Monday that Lewis left suddenly because he did not want to be caught in between a rift between CEO Rhys Holleran and the board, which is unhappy with the company’s performance.

In a statement to the ASX confirming the appointment Holleran said “We are excited to have someone with Nick’s exceptional finance  experience and credentials join SCA’s senior executive team.”

According to his LinkedIn profile McKechnie led two capital raisings at ConnectEast,  adding: “I seek to be at the core of a leadership team of a growing, sustainable business.

“The organisations I have worked for have all undergone profound change. I have led capital restructuring to create a sustainable basis for ConnectEast and my commercial acumen has enabled the businesses to improve their profitability through a constant focus on operating efficiency and focussed investment.”

Southern Cross’ share price has plummeted this calendar year, from over $1.60 in January closing yesterday at $1.11.

Alex Hayes


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