World News – AU – Nine board members were sent via anonymous email prior to Hugh Marx’s resignation

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An anonymous email was sent to the Nine Entertainment Co board of directors containing complaints about behavior at the company in the days before outgoing CEO Hugh Marks suddenly resigned.

Industry sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matters were confidential told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Edge that directors had received correspondence ahead of Thursday’s annual general meeting and tensions increased over sensitive information communications between managers..

Hugh Marx targeted the board when he announced his resignation at the end of the week. Credit: Edwina Pickles

Mr. Marx resigned from Nine on Saturday after it was revealed in the Herald that he had started a relationship with Alexei Baker, who was reporting directly to him in his capacity as managing director of commercial affairs.. Nine is a television, broadcast and radio business owner of Herald and The Age.

The Australian newspaper reported on Monday that the Board of Directors of the Nine, led by former Federal Treasury Secretary Peter Costello, is divided over whether to conduct an independent investigation into Marx’s relationship.. The report said Mr. Costello wanted the matter to be dealt with internally with nine sources, saying that Director Kathryn West, who is chair of the People and Remuneration Committee, could conduct an investigation.

Nine declined to answer detailed questions about the nature of any investigation, and they will not comment on the anonymous email sent to the forum.. « We will handle all matters in line with good corporate governance and company policies, » a spokeswoman for Nine said in a statement on Monday. « .

The Herald and The Age were unable to confirm the contents of the email but were told that it increased frustration among board members who were not adequately informed of important developments within the company..

Shareholders have expressed disappointment over the resignation of Mr. Marx, who oversaw the merger between Nine and Fairfax Media in 2018, overhauled the company’s sports rights portfolio and announced a 30 percent increase in earnings forecast last week..

Investment analyst Patrick Potts of Martin Currie said Mr. Marx was leaving the company in good shape. « Of course we are disappointed that he is gone, » he said.. Martin Curry is Nine’s third largest shareholder and holds 5. 85 percent stake.

“He has done a very good job over the past five years not only resetting the TV business but also investing in growth assets like Stan, 9Now and then amalgamating the acquisition of Fairfax..

Mr Potts said the board needed to spend its time finding the right person and expressed a preference for a candidate with digital experience rather than media or advertising experience. Broadcasting Service Head, Stan, Mike Sneesby, and Head of Digital Publishing, Chris Janz, are two of the leading internal competitors..

Mr. Potts did not want to discuss the specific details behind Mr. Marx’s resignation. “It happens in companies from time to time, and it’s always very difficult to deal with this situation as shareholders and you really depend on boards to deal with this kind of scenario..

Catherine Alfrey, Director of Wavestone Capital, said everyone hired will need to meet criteria Mr. Marx set for investors this year, including the goal of increasing digital revenue.. Allfrey, which owns nine shares, said it was happy for the CEO to continue in his role until a permanent replacement is found. Mr. Marks appeared at a UBS conference that was closed to the media on Monday with Ms. Allfrey saying he was « absolutely fine » in articulating her strategy..

“I am disappointed about what happened regarding Hugh’s departure and the sudden nature of him and the circumstances, but nonetheless I think there is a lot of talent in the next layer,” Ms. Alfrey said.. “I have confidence in Costello and the board to make the right decision regarding the forward focus of the group. But those who choose them should focus on driving the business on the digital side.

The company’s six-person board of directors, formed during the $ 4 billion merger in 2018, is comprised of three former Fairfax Media directors and three directors from the previous nine board. Former Fairfax directors are Vice Chairman Nick Fallon, Patrick Alaway, and Mickey Rosen, and the nine directors are Mr. Costello, Samantha Lewis and Mrs. West.. .

Multiple sources close to the board said there were tensions between managers who joined from Fairfax and those who came from Nine.. The tensions are linked, according to the sources, to concerns about a lack of transparency and inclusive decision-making processes.

Sources said that some managers sometimes felt out of the loop with decisions made by Mr. Costello and Mr. Marx.. Mr Alaway abruptly resigned from the board of directors of Woolworths Holdings in February of last year after it was revealed that David Thomas, former chief of David Jones, had been accused of discriminating against an employee and was the subject of an outside investigation by the law firm Ashurst (the investigation found no evidence).

Mr. Marx was unable to confirm whether he had the full board support on Sunday but criticized what he described as a lack of calm among some managers while discussing « ridiculous gossip » about him.. He thanked Costello in media interviews on Monday for his support.

He did not go into detail about whether directors had received any internal or external correspondence about his behavior prior to his resignation, but he did not deny this..

Marx said Sunday, « I think we’d better keep some of these things behind the scenes because they’re not really relevant. ». “That kind of thing could be a trigger for things, but I guess it was just escalating gossip.

“Maybe there could have been quieter minds in some situations and quieter voices – that’s what I would have done in that situation.

The Morning Edition newsletter is a curated guide to the most important and exciting news, analysis, and insights. Subscribe to The Sydney Morning Herald’s newsletter, The Age’s here, The Brisbane Times’s Here, and WAtoday’s Here.

Zoe Samius is a media and communications correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Nine Network, Hugh John Marks, Nine Entertainment Co. , Fairfax Media CEO

World News – AU – Nine members were emailed anonymously prior to Hugh Marks’ resignation
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Ref: https://www.smh.com.au

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