Nine CEO Hugh Marks quits

Nine Entertainment Co. CEO Hugh Marks announced his resignation over the weekend after five years in the role.

According to the formal announcement lodged on the ASX today, Marks intends to step down during the second half of the 20-2021 financial year and will actively continue as CEO during the recruitment of his replacement.

“When I was appointed CEO five years ago, my brief was to lead the transformation of what was then a television business, to a digitally-based media company. We have achieved so much in that time frame. Bringing together three legacy media businesses, each with their own structural challenges, and investing in the assets that will ensure our position at the forefront of Australia’s media future,” Marks said in the statement.

“Nine’s suite of assets today – with Stan, 9Now and Domain, complementing our core broadcast and publishing businesses – is second to none in Australia. With almost 50 per cent of our earnings sourced from our digital assets providing a clear growth profile for the company, I am confident this is an opportune time to announce my retirement, whilst giving the board plenty of time to appoint a successor. I also believe that Nine has an incredibly strong management team, leading it across all its businesses.”

Marks’ resignation follows much media speculation regarding his personal life. The executive revealed over the weekend he is in a relationship with Nine’s former managing director of commercial Alexi Baker. Baker, who reported to Marks, left the company last month.

“When it became clear this relationship was going to become a subject of ridiculous gossip and so much pressure was going to come on the people in the business I just said to myself the right thing to do at this point is to take that pressure off the business and its people,” Marks told Nine’s Sydney Morning Herald yesterday.

The announcement also comes after a positive AGM for Nine on Thursday, at which Marks predicted a turnaround in FTA ad revenue, and a week that saw streamer Stan launch a sports service, with deals with Rugby Australia, Wimbledon and the French Open.

Chairman of the Nine board Peter Costello said: “Hugh has been an extremely successful CEO for Nine, and has achieved so much in building the company in his time at the helm.

“The transformation of Nine to a multi-media and digital business has been all-encompassing and we now have an unreplicable suite of assets, fit to lead us through the digital age. We respect Hugh’s decision, allowing us plenty of notice to work through the next few months, and enable an orderly transition. We wish him well in all his future endeavours.”

Prior to working for Nine as CEO, Marks owned RGM Artists, severed as an authority member of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and was CEO of the Southern Star Group for seven years. He’d previously worked for the Nine Network as legal counsel and director of Nine Films and Television.