James Warburton. 

The Seven Network will appoint a chief content officer as part of sweeping changes being undertaken by freshly-appointed CEO James Warburton.

It is understood that Seven Studios CEO Therese Hegarty and Seven director of network programming Angus Ross will report to the newly-created position, which has yet to be filled.

Warburton made an internal announcement to staff today outlining his initial restructure which will see the CEO’s direct reports reduced from 17 executives to eight.

Warburton said in a statement: “With the new organisational structure, we have focused on simplifying the SWM (Seven West Media) organisation to enable our content led growth strategy. This new flatter structure will cement our position as Australia’s leading media group with content at the heart of the business, digital growth maximised, duplication of roles removed in all areas and operating efficiencies implemented.”

The currently vacant roles of chief marketing officer and chief digital officer will be announced later in the month.

Hegarty was promoted to the CEO helm of the studios in May along with the procurement of  former Nine Network executive Andrew Backwell, appointed director of production and responsible for non-scripted content.

Under the new regime, executives reporting to the CEO will also be commercial director Bruce McWilliam, chief financial officer Warwick Lynch, chief people and culture officer Katie McGrath, chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette and Seven West Australia chief executive Maryna Fewster.

“We have had to make some tough decisions in order to build the network for the future. I take very seriously any decision that impacts our people and I am grateful for the loyalty and commitment shown by our team over many years.  Anyone impacted by changes will have dedicated support and respect throughout the process of transition,” Warburton said.

As part of the changes the network has cancelled its weekly current affairs program, Sunday Night.

A spokesperson for the network could not detail how many jobs had been affected by the rationalisation  But it is understood that these are the first in series of restructuring announcements that Warburton will roll out in coming month as part of  reshaping the company.

The network will host its annual Upfronts event in three weeks in Sydney where it is understood that further announcements regarding the realignment of the network will be made.

In August, the Seven Network reported a full-year loss of $444.5 million.

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