Nine digital and former marketing chief, Alex Parsons, announces exit

Media giant confirms Parsons won't be directly replaced and announces promotions for a number of key executives

Nine's chief digital and marketing officer, Alex Parsons
Nine's chief digital and marketing officer, Alex Parsons

Nine has confirmed digital chief and former marketing leader, Alex Parsons, will not be directly replaced following his departure at the end of the month after 10 years with the media giant.

Parsons has spent the last three years leading Nine’s digital business as well as marketing as its chief digital and marketing officer, and was responsible for overseeing the shift away from Nine’s Mi9 joint venture with Microsoft to create standalone business, Nine Digital. This led to the launch of several new online properties such as nine.com.au, the 9Honey women’s network and the organisation’s on-demand TV offering, 9Now.  

Prior to his digital remit, Parsons held a number of senior roles including CEO of RateCity, managing director of Ninemsn, and also worked as a director across Nine subsidiaries, Pedestrian.TV and CarAdvice.

In a statement, Nine said Parsons will leave at the end of September and will not be directly replaced. Instead, several existing managers are gaining new remits. Niamh Collins is being promoted to general manager of video including 9Now, reporting into director of TV, Michael Healey. Current 9Honey chief, Helen McCabe, will now assume the new title of digital content director, reporting to CEO, Hugh Marks.

In addition, director of business strategy and operations, Christiaan Rutten, becomes digital chief operating officer reporting to CFO, Greg Barnes, retaining existing responsibilities but increasing his focus on revenue, expenses and earnings across the digital business. Nine CIO, Mat Yelavich, will also report in Barnes and continue to drive all technology aspects of the business.

Parsons said it had been an amazing experience working with the Nine team in Australia but said he was ready for a new challenge.

“I’m immensely proud of everything my team has achieved, particularly in getting nine.com.au back to the top of the commercial news rankings, launching the 9Honey women’s network, launching 9Now and developing our data asset, which now has more than 4 million subscribers,” he said.

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“I’m confident that I’m leaving the digital business in good shape and that it will continue to be a key player in the Australian digital landscape for years to come.”

Marks also noted Parson’s significant contribution to the growth and evolution of the Nine business. “He has successfully evolved Nine Digital from the business built around the long-term Microsoft joint venture arrangement, to the growing content and platform business it is today. I would like to thank him for his time and energy,” he said.

In an email circulated to staff, Marks added Parsons had been a key player in the Nine management team for a number of years and a driving force not just in shaping digital, “but our overall business of the future”.

“Change in the media business is a constant and it is inevitable. While that change is challenging and complex, both Alex and I believe this presents huge opportunities for the future of our business,” Marks continued.    

“Key to that change is Nine embracing ourselves as a content business first and foremost. A content business that owns a number of its own operating platforms that are powerful in their own right but that when operated effectively together are unbeatable..  

“In television, being not just the free to air channels that we’ve known for decades, but which now include both 9Now and our STAN joint venture with Fairfax Media. The merger of television and technology. A re-imagined television business already working in action with the success we are seeing across all of these platforms.  

At the same time, our television and digital publishing businesses are becoming more integrated in line with our strategy. Working with each other but also owning their own distinct place in our growing content business. And it is in this space that we must continue to invest.”  

Marks flagged plans to further develop the digital publishing business and investment into creating new opportunities across its four content pillars of news, sport, entertainment and Lifestyle.  

“Our future is as a digital business,” he added.  

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu   

 

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