Less than a month after the company breached the Reserve Bank protocols around reporting the OCR, and failed to offer a meaningful apology, less than a week after the resignation of Hilary Barry, arguably the brightest star in what was left of its firmanent, and less than a day after the launch of the joint venture with NBCUniversal to rebrand FOUR as Bravo, Mark Weldon has stepped down as CEO of Mediaworks.
Announcing the resignation this morning, chair Rod McGeoch said CFO David Chalmers would act as CEO until a replacement is found.
Weldon noted he’d been doing a challenging job trying to turn MediaWorks around, and said in a statement, “The personal cost is now too high to continue.”
Rachel Glucina, whom Weldon appointed to lead Scout, called Weldon “The most visionary & inspiring leader I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with”.
Others didn’t agree.
“Don’t trip on the ruins you created as you leave,” tweeted broadcaster Caroline Robinson. Former Campbell Live producer Pip Keane tweeted, “It’s definitely a karma day.”
The announcement noted that Weldon had tendered his resignation last night, at the end of the day that had seen MediaWorks announce its joint venture with NBCUniversal and board members meet with staff understood to be critical of Weldon’s leadership.
Whether he jumped or was pushed, Weldon’s departure will do little to give NBCUniversal confidence in the run-up to the launch of Bravo. While it’s horrible to claim that running a media business is a special case, Weldon appears to have lacked understanding of some of the basics during his tenure.
The job was never going to be easy and was always going to involve making changes, some of them unpopular within and without the company. But few of the big changes seemed positive. The creation of Scout, turning FOUR into a reality channel, the mounting pile of resignation letters and high-profile staff members leaving, all contributed to a sense that the company didn’t really know where it was going but didn’t much care how it got there.
The creation of Newshub might yet pay dividends, and Weldon was not the only CEO to embark on a radical revamp of news operations recently.
McGeoch closed his statement to MediaWorks staff by noting, “I also want to assure the company and its stakeholders that the strategy initiated by Mark will continue.”
The beatings will continue until morale improves.