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Kerry Stokes backs CEO Tim Worner

Seven West Media Chairman Kerry Stokes today backed his CEO Tim Worner amid ongoing headlines regarding his affair with Amber Harrison.

Worner today fronted Seven’s half-yearly results in Sydney.

Responding to questions about whether Seven News had ignored the headlines, Stokes said, “I am not aware of any restraint on Seven News covering this issue. In fact I think there is a fairly large article on this… this morning, so I’m not quite sure what you’re referring to.

“I would suggest our news editors cover what they think is appropriate to cover.

“Tim Worner himself continues to enjoy the full confidence of the board as our CEO. (He’s) doing an outstanding job.”

At the start of today’s results conference call, Tim Worner said, “Over the past two months much has been written and discussed concerning the ongoing claims of a former employee.

“I have apologised for what did happen and we don’t wish to give any more oxygen to things that did not happen.

“The company has made a number of public statements on the matter and will continue to keep the market informed.”

But Seven West Media’s first-half net profit plunged nearly 91 percent, hurt by changes relating to its investment in Yahoo7, divestments and costs related to the defunct streaming service Presto.

Net profit dropped to $12.4 million for the six months to December 24, from $135.2 million a year earlier, relating to the impairment of its investment in Yahoo7, sale of Magazine’s youth titles and Australian News Channel as well as Presto’s closing down costs.

Excluding significant items, profit after tax fell 31.8 per cent to $95.7 million.

Tim Worner said: “We are delivering leadership across our media platforms. We are delivering on a successful strategy that provides us with a clear, continuous and sustainable plan for growth to 2020 and beyond. We will continue to build our businesses, manage our costs, grow our content production capacity, and deliver that content wherever the audience wants to consume it and wherever we can monetise it. Much has been done on driving greater efficiencies across all aspects of our business and we will continue to focus on further enhancing our operating margins.”

Meanwhile Sydney Swans chairman Andrew Pridham rejected calls for Mr Worner to resign.

“I’m disappointed he has got himself into this situation, I’m disappointed for him and his judgment but that doesn’t necessarily mean there are grounds to ask someone to step down from a board,” he said.

The presentation follows a flurry of headlines this week surrounding his affair with Amber Harrison, previously an executive assistant within Seven West Media.

Yesterday board member and Beyond Blue chairman Jeff Kennett took to the press to defend SWM’s position and investigation, citing “one-sided” reportage.

Harrison, remains subject to an injunction this week preventing her from commentary, including on social media. That matter returns to court next week.

Source: AFR, Nine

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