‘There has to be some cultural change’: Where to now for Seven?

As expected, James Warburton announced he was stepping down as Seven West Media CEO effective immediately last week, and as the dust settles on his departure, the next question is where to now for the network?

After several weeks of controversies – which included an expenses scandal investigation, a former Spotlight producer claiming the network paid for drugs, sex workers and more to secure an interview with Bruce Lehrmann, and the TV giant facing a lawsuit after incorrectly reporting the identity of the Westfield Bondi mass murderer – there has been no official statement from Seven HQ since last week’s announcement that Jeff Howard was taking over as CEO.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Mumbrellacast ahead of Warburton’s departure, Mumbrella publisher Adam Lang said Seven is in need of a reset.

“There has to be some cultural change at Seven,” Lang said. “And so, this is one of the ways that that can be achieved. And I think the board must be looking at that very thoroughly, right across the elements of the businesses.”

Lang referenced a recent contentious LinkedIn post published by Seven CMO Melissa Hopkins, who said she was proud to be working for the network amidst the controversy.

James Warburton (left) and James Howard (right)

“As Mel Hopkins said in a LinkedIn post, there are elements to be proud of – get them back in the centre so that everyone can feel that way, because clearly not everyone has.” Lang continued:

“There’s some things that have come out through this defamation case that wouldn’t have seen the light of day, were it not for Bruce Lehrmann taking 10 to court for defamation.

“And obviously Seven and the Spotlight program got embroiled in that and more and more was discovered through this process. The things that were discovered, I don’t think anyone can be proud of. Things can be true at the same time – there is great work and there are things that just shouldn’t happen and both can happen at the same time.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

Mumbrella has contacted Seven for comment.


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