WIN CEO joins Nine board as Hugh Marks and Patrick Allaway prepare to depart

WIN Corporation CEO, Andrew Lancaster, will join the Nine Entertainment Co board as a non-executive director on 1 April, the latter company announced to the stock exchange this morning.

The news comes less than two weeks after the two media businesses struck an affiliation deal, seeing Nine jump back to WIN after a five year relationship with Southern Cross Austereo. The seven-year arrangement will involve WIN handing over about half of its regional advertising revenue in exchange for broadcasting Nine’s free-to-air content across Tasmania, regional Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and southern New South Wales.


Lancaster, who is also the CEO of Birketu, a private investment company owned by WIN owner Bruce Gordon, said that “Nine has clearly embraced the structural changes occurring in media and has done a remarkable job repositioning the business”.

“I know the team well and look forward to working with them as they continue to transform the company,” he said.

Of Lancaster’s addition, Nine chair Peter Costello said he has a “long history and considerable experience in both television and radio in Australia, particularly in regional markets where he has successfully overseen WIN’s extensive operations for more than ten years, and was instrumental in Nine’s recent affiliation agreement with WIN”.

Lancaster joins the board at a time of both transformation and tension. The ASX announcement also confirmed that incoming CEO Mike Sneesby will be managing director, and reiterated outgoing boss Hugh Marks and Patrick Allaway will soon stand down.

Late last year, Marks resigned after five years in the top job, after admitting to a relationship with a former key executive. Following his shock announcement, reports of internal board friction began to emerge in Nine’s own newspapers.

Just days before Sneesby’s appointment, The Sydney Morning Herald revealed deputy chair Nick Falloon is being investigated over the alleged misuse of a corporate golf membership. A day later, the two other Fairfax board imports were also in the news: Allaway tendered his resignation, and Mickie Rosen was reportedly considering doing the same.

Costello and Sneesby

But at a media event introducing Sneesby as Marks’ successor, Costello assured journalists the board is not fractured, despite the apparent turbulence. Sneesby is stepping into the role with the board’s full support, he said, and it was always Allaway’s plan to step down once he became chair of the Bank of Queensland.

“I know you said another one is understood to be standing down. I’ve spoken to that board member. According to that board member, they don’t have that understanding,” Costello added. “As far as I’m aware, that [the claim Rosen is considering resigning] is not true.”

Last month, Marks delivered the company’s half year results – Costello noted it was always the intention for Marks to do so, before his replacement was announced – which saw net profit soar 79% to $182 million. In response, the share price jumped, pushing the largest locally-owned media company above the $5 billion mark for the first time. And last week, Nine signed a letter of intent with Facebook to be paid for news, mirroring the company’s preliminary deal with Google.


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