Nine CEO stresses minimal redundancies following Fairfax merger

Operating structure, leadership team and staff cuts confirmed as Nine and Fairfax prepare to trade as one media company on 10 December

A total of 144 roles will be made redundant and just shy of 100 employees affected as Nine and Fairfax become one media business on 10 December.

In an email outlining the new Nine operating approach, Nine CEO, Hugh Marks, confirmed a number of leadership appointments as well as redundancies expected as a result of the historic $4.2 billion merger.

The main media entity will be organised under four operating businesses: Australian Community Media, Printing and Stuff (New Zealand); Publishing; Stan; and Television. Both Domain and Macquarie Radio will remain standalone listed companies with independent boards and are being led by Jason Pellegrino and Adam Lang, respectively.

In total, 144 roles are being made redundant across the 6000-strong workforce represented by the two companies. Combined with vacancies, the number of employees affected by this change is 92, Marks stated. Work on ‘synergies’, including redundancies, is expected to be completed by the end of this week, in time for the combined group’s official debut on 10 December.

The new-look Australian Community Media, Printing and Stuff division is under the remit of managing director of community and Printing, Allen Williams. Stuff in New Zealand will still be led by CEO, Sinead Boucher, but now reports into Allen.

Publishing, which includes mastheads such as The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, along with Nine Digital and Events, will be led by former Fairfax MD for Metro Publishing, Chris Janz. Stan, the streaming business, is being overseen by CEO, Mike Sneesby, while Michael Healy takes charge of television.

Nine has also confirmed both its CFO, Greg Barnes, who joined Nine from CSR in April, as well as director of strategy and corporate development, Alexi Bake;  group director of content strategy , Lizzie Young; and chief sales officer, Michael Stephenson; remain in their posts.

The historic union of Nine and Fairfax, which was announced in July and comes off the back of changes to Australia’s Media Laws, passed its final hurdle on 28 November when the Federal Court of Australia approved the scheme of arrangement. In the week prior, more than 80 per cent of Fairfax shareholders voted in favour of the merger.

Earlier in November, regulatory watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, gave the green light for the merger even as its chair, Rod Sims, admitted the deal was likely to reduce market competition.

Marks said the new corporate structure is designed to strengthen offerings to audiences and clients, “including maximising our combined ability to invest in quality Australian content and journalism”.

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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