‘Who’s running the show?’ Seven Network controversy raises questions for trade partners and employees

It could be fair to suggest that the Seven Network is going through somewhat of a brand crisis, but who is at the centre of it?

On a new episode of the Mumbrellacast, editor Neil Griffiths and publisher Adam Lang discussed the controversy coming out of the TV giant in recent times. As well as explosive emails sent from outgoing commercial director Bruce McWilliam via SMH this week, it has been speculated that managing director and CEO James Warburton will be heading for the exit next week, despite Seven insisting he will not depart until on or before 30 June, as first announced late last year.

“It’s not really a consumer issue, as in, the millions of people that watch and read and consume their content, that’s probably not of major concern to them. But as trading partners for the business of media and advertising who trade with Seven: ‘Who am I going to be dealing with and who’s running the show?’ That is a change,” Lang said.

“This is more about the employment brand. And so, you can see that the change from James Walburton to Jeff Howard is coming, [that] may be brought forward. And then you look at, well, why would that happen?

“These are big changes and a lot of speculation that maybe through all of that, perhaps it makes sense to change to a new leader earlier than was planned.”

James Warburton (left) and Jeff Howard (right)

The hosts also speculated whether the turmoil surrounding Seven has led to the announcements of McWilliam and Warburton’s departures, with Lang saying regardless of the reasons, the network needs to resolve it quickly.

“There’s a lot of distractions and that’ll be unfortunately consuming oxygen for Seven’s trading partners and for the people that work there,” he said.

“I think we all love confidence. We love to know that things are settled, and we know where we’re going. And when you don’t have that at your employer, I think there’s an open question. And, so you can see why it would make sense to resolve that question.”

Seven declined to comment when contacted by Mumbrella.

Listen to the full podcast here.


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