Directors

Catherine West ends run of 60 male media chairs


June 18, 2024

This list tracks chairs of ASX listed Australian media and advertising companies. That's 60 men and just 1 woman with the appointment of Catherine West to succeed Peter Costello as Nine chair. If we've missed any, please email stephen@maynereport.com.

Nine Entertainment (4 men and 1 woman): Catherine West replaced Peter Costello on June 9, 2024, after a misogny scandal revolving around news boss Darren Wick and a chairman shoulder charge of News Corp journo Liam Mendes. Before that the only other chair after it listed in 2013 was David Haslingden, a long time Murdoch man. When it was PBL and part of the Packer empire, the chairs included James Packer and Brian Powers.

Ten Network Holdings (6 men): floated by Canadian interests after collapsing in the early 1990s and chairs included John Studdy, Nick Falloon, Brian Long, Lachlan Murdoch, Hamish McLennan and David Gordon before it collapsed again in 2017. Collectively, they cost shareholders about $2 billion.

Fairfax Media (6 men): floated in 1992 after the Conrad Black led takeover and then taken over by Nine in 2018. The male chairs over that 16 year journey included Conrad Black, Dean Wills, Brian Powers, Ron Walker, Roger Corbett and Nick Falloon.

Macquarie Media/Southern Cross (5 men): floated by Macquarie Bank in 2005 with Tim Hughes as the original executive chair, followed by Max Moore-Wilton. It then changed its name to Southern Cross Austereo after the Austereo takeover and chairs have included Peter Bush, Rob Murray and Heith Mackay-Cruise. They've collectively blown up almost $1 billion.

Seek (4 men): chairs have included James Packer, Bob Watson, Neil Chatfield and Graham Goldsmith.

Pacific Magazines and Printing (PMP) (4 men): floated by News Corp in 1991 as a debt reduction exercise, later changed its name to Ovato which collapsed in July 2022. Chairs included News Corp veteran Ken Cowley, Graham Reaney, Ian Fraser and Michael Hannon. News Corp made about $1 billion and shareholders lost closer to $2 billion.

APN News & Media/ARN Media (4 men): floated by Ireland's O'Reilly family in the early 1990s and chairs have included James Parkinson, Gavin O'Reilly, Peter Cosgrove and Hamish McLennan.

REA (3 men): chairs have included Murdoch men Richard Freudenstein and Hamish McLennan and before that it was real estate agent John McGrath.

Carsales (3 men): chairs have included Wal Pisciotta, Jeff Browne and Pat O'Sullivan.

News Corp (3 men): Rupert's Geelong Grammar school friend Richard Searby was long-term chairman until Rupert punted him after the 1990 debt crisis and then served as the unelected executive chair until the move to America in 2004. Lachlan Murdoch became chair in 2023.

WA News/Seven West Media (3 men): floated by Westpac out of the collapsed Alan Bond empire in the early 1990s. Kerry Stokes has been the chair since taking control in 2011 and the previous chairs of WA News before that were Peter Mansell and ex Westpac bankers Warwick Kent. Billions lost with shares wallowing at 18c.

Seven Group Holdings (3 men): initially floated in 1993 with Ivan Deveson as chair but then Kerry Stokes took over by the mid-1990s and only retired as chair of what became Seven Group Holdings in 2021, when former Coca Cola Amatil CEO Terry Davis took over.

Macquarie Radio Network (2 men): floated by John Singleton in 2005 and then merged with Fairfax radio assets in 2015 before the combined Nine-Fairfax took out the minorities in 2019. Chairs included Max Donnelly and Russell Tate.

Southern Cross Broadcasting (2 men): founded by former HWT chair John Dahlsen who chaired it up until the Fairfax-Macquarie takeover in 2006. Peter Nixon was an earlier chair.

Ooh Media (2 men): outdoor advertising firm that was floated in 2014 and chairs have included Michael Anderson and Tony Faure.

Village Roadshow (2 men): the Kirby brothers rotated the chairmanship for many years until it was taken over in 2021.

Austar (2 men): the regional pay-TV operator floated in 1999-2000 and taken over by News Corp in 2012. Chairs included Bill Ferris and Mike Fries.

Consolidated Media Holdings (1 man): the Packer media rump created after Crown demerger and sale of PBL Media to private equity firm CVC in 2005. Taken over by News Corp in 2012. John Alexander was long term executive chair until the Murdoch sale.

Rural Press (1 man): floated after Warwick Fairfax privatised Fairfax in the late 1980s with John B Fairfax serving as the longest chair until it was taken over by Fairfax Media in 2006.

Austereo (1 man): floated at $1.85 in a share in 2001 and takeover over by Macquarie Media in 2011 which created Southern Cross Austereo. The chairman during that 10 year period was Peter Harvie.