Seven in crisis

Seven West Media board met yesterday to address the now-public scandal embroiling its CEO Tim Worner, as the company’s shares plummeted by nearly $100m.

Headlines continue today disclosing sordid details of a consensual relationship between Worner and former employee Amber Harrison, 35.

Harrison was an employee of Pacific Magazines when they met in 2012 while Worner was CEO of Seven Network, but yet to take the top office at Seven West Media.

It ended in 2014 beginning a long and protracted series of negotiations which has resulted in Harrison going public.

Worner has apologised in a statement issued yesterday.

“This relationship finished some years ago and I apologised at the time, and am still trying to make amends,” he said.

“I am obviously filled with the deepest regret and shame. My focus is to continue to work through this in private and minimise the distress to my family. They are the most important people in the world to me and I will continue to fight to repair the damage I’ve caused.”

While office romances are nothing new in media, the lewd details spilling into the press make this one of the year’s biggest media stories at a time everybody thought 2016 was done and dusted. While it takes two to tango, it is understandably the CEO attracting all the attention.

For a CEO some of the allegations are explosive and at-odds with the family values led by chairman Kerry Stokes. Thus far the network is backing its man, even insisting yesterday it would not be fulfilling payments following a breach of confidentiality. Those are the least of its worries right now with reputation and share price in freefall.

Today there is speculation about other employees and even illegal activities -so far those have been denied by the network. They allege meetings, texts, venues and the network damage-control.

Headlines are spinning phrases such as “Seven sex scandal,” “Explicit text messages,” “From family man to executive affair,” “Network stands by disgraced CEO”, “Sex, drugs, and shareholders’ money” “Seven West Media sees $100m fall in value,” “Banging the boss is not your job,” “Saucy reality show unravelled” and “New sex claims.”

Traditionally a network does not comment on the private lives of those under extreme scrutiny, but its hand was forced yesterday as media rifled through allegations and shares plummeted. And when talent is the subject of dishonourable conduct they usually pay the price, if backed initially by a network.

But Worner has a long history at Seven as a masterful Programmer and successful CEO, navigating the changing media landscape for the company. Until this week he has been highly-regarded in the industry, including receiving the MIPTV Médaille d’Honneur Award in Cannes in 2014.

It’s unlikely the 6 week business course he undertook in the US prior to taking the CEO job prepared for anything like this.

Seven’s statement says the “inappropriate” and “improper behavior” is not a part of Seven’s culture.

Kerry Stokes has told Worner it was “completely unacceptable.”

22 Comments:

  1. i dont know why .. but i i dont see the public importance of this… maybe to shareholders? but really is a private thing… done years ago… if seven werent happy.. iam sure they would have found a reason for him to leave…. there would lots of people in extra marital affairs this really is much different

    • Unless it impacts his work performance and culture which it appears it has. It’s been alleged he would stay up all night ‘partying’ then go to important executive meetings.

  2. It is reported seven have spent over one million dollars over the past two years to deal with Amber Harrison . They have treated their share holders with contempt.

  3. Armchair Analyst

    Its not a crisis. This is however very much so unwelcomed! Worner should have seen this coming! He is the senior in a more powerful position he shouldn’t have gotten involved! I don’t think this will have long lasting damage its very inconvenient! Both will survive! If the woman in question had stuck to the agreement this could have been kept quiet! Someone has dollar signs in their eyes!

  4. seven-west media control 2 of the 3 main website in WA. Perth Now, and The West, not a word about it. I am so glad we still have WAToday.

    If I was the boss of Seven-West Media, Tim Worner straight out the door ASAP, no its no buts no nothing. Contract and all torn up.

    But you know what, I’ll wait to see what happens, Channel 7 and Tim Worner, will part company with a confidential settlement. Shareholders will grill the board at the next AGM, as they should, the Directors will thumb their nose at them. Nothing will change.

  5. I look forward to No Idea’s continual harassment of Worner, like they have with Karl Stefanovic over the past few months. Lol who am I kidding? It’s a Seven mouthpiece, they’ll be completely silent over it.

  6. Lessons are hard to learn for some alpha males, but sex and business do not necessarily mix especially if you already have a family, protocol suggests Tim Worner’s time at Channl 7 is limited.

  7. It will be interesting to see if sevens rivals will try, to capitalise on this by doing salacious stories on this story on programs such as “A Current Affair” ( no pun intended ), or will they have too many skeletons in their closets

  8. Quotes from the article:
    “Seven’s statement says the “inappropriate” and “improper behavior” is not a part of Seven’s culture.”
    “Kerry Stokes has told Worner it was “completely unacceptable.”

    Plus share price plunge, and a severe distraction to all other Seven corporate initiatives. If it was anyone else he would have gone a while ago. He otherwise seemingly impressive business track record must be the only thing ‘protecting’ him from being shown the door. The smart money must be that Worner’s time at Seven will soon be up though, particularly if the unflattering stories continue.

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