It follows ongoing media articles that question whether the Seven West Media board has acted responsibly and adequately on behalf of shareholders, following claims by former employee Amber Harrison.
Earlier this week shares lost values of $98m before recovering.
Even today articles pose questions surrounding allegations:
“I think it is a significant issue because, by definition, these are illegal substances and it’s against the law to take them,” chief executive of the Governance Institute of Australia, Steven Burrell tells The Australian. “It would be particularly egregious if that’s taken place in work time.”
“The community expects more of companies and the people who run them. Boards of directors should be setting the highest standards to embed the right values and culture,” the Australian Financial Review notes. “Seven has been accused in the past of being run like a private company rather than a publicly-listed one. But that accusation has been levelled at every media company controlled by a billionaire and his family.”
An opinion piece by Madonna King in WA Today suggests, “You can bed who you like, although many of your viewers might disagree with me there. And you can have dalliances with whatever or whoever you like outside work and keep your job. But your admissions to date already show that you dismissed the standards for yourself that you expect of others who report to you.”
Seven is yet to address some of the specific allegations made by Harrison, who wants to front the media company’s board to “explain my truth.”
Seven issued the following statement to the ASX today:
The Board of Seven West Media Limited (SWM) takes allegations being published in relation to its CEO very seriously and has met on four occasions this week to consider the unfolding issues being raised.
The Board continues to support the CEO, and the processes and decisions made based on the information at the time Ms Amber Harrison’s credit card misuse, and subsequently the existence of her relationship with the CEO, was brought to the attention of the company two years ago.
At the time, the Board appointed an independent accounting firm to establish the facts behind the misuse of Ms Harrison’s corporate credit card and to produce a comprehensive report. It was this report that lead to Ms Harrison’s termination and a settlement agreement being reached by the parties.
However, to allay any concerns that our shareholders may have the Board has determined it prudent to commission a further independent inquiry to establish all of the facts so as to confirm that all necessary matters have been and were taken into account.
The Board will work quickly to appoint an appropriate independent expert to undertake the inquiry and to report back to the Board as soon as they deem it practical.