Nine appoints Stan boss Mike Sneesby as new CEO

Peter Costello and Mike Sneesby at this morning's announcement

Mike Sneesby, the CEO of Australian streaming subscription service Stan, is set to step up and take over as CEO of Nine Entertainment.

Nine already owns Stan, so this will expand Sneesby’s current remit to include other Nine assets such as its television operations, Nine Radio’s assets such as 2GB and 3AW, broadcast video on demand (BVOD) service 9Now, newspapers and digital news services including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, as well as its controlling interest in real estate portal Domain.

Sneesby is replacing Hugh Marks, who announced he was stepping down in November last year when it emerged he had been in a relationship with a key Nine executive.

Marks took the helm of Nine in 2015, and has since steered it through its multi-billion-dollar takeover of Fairfax Media, the full acquisition of Macquarie Media (now Nine Radio) and the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has since been transforming the Nine Radio business unit, attempting to widen talk radio’s appeal and offer a more diverse talent lineup.

The company recently flagged its disappointment with Nine Radio’s performance in its half-year results, with revenue down 24% for the business unit. Radio stood out from the rest of the business, with revenue for the wider Nine group down just 2%, Stan revenue up 28%, 9Now revenue up 30%, and television down just 2%.

Sneesby said it will be the honour of a lifetime to lead the Nine family of journalists, technicians, producers and so many others who are dedicated to their craft.

“I am honoured to be entrusted with this important role, to be the custodian for many of Australia’s most important, valuable and iconic media brands,” he said. “I have worked alongside my colleagues at Nine for many years and I look forward to building our future together as we embrace the opportunities presented in the emerging and growing digital future.”

Nine’s chairman Peter Costello said the board is pleased to make such a significant appointment.

“Under Mike’s leadership, Nine will be able to maintain the strong momentum it has built in audience, subscribers, content, revenue and earnings,” he said. “Mike is well placed to continue to drive Nine’s transformation as a digitally led business which is actively adapting to meet the contemporary media consumption habits of Australians.”

He also thanked Marks for all he had achieved.

“I also want to pay tribute to the remarkable tenure of Hugh Marks, who in 2015, inherited a legacy television business with a market capitalisation of around $1.3 billion. Through the combined strength that came from the Nine-Fairfax merger, our current market capitalisation has grown to just over $5 billion. This is a remarkable turnaround and Hugh has my sincere thanks and gratitude for his work. His time as CEO has seen Nine make a number of key strategic decisions, which not only redefined Nine but changed the wider media landscape in Australia.”

Marks will finish as CEO on March 31, but remain available to assist with a handover in Sneesby in the coming months.

In recent days there have been reports that the Nine board is fractured and split over the CEO appointment. Costello flatly denied the board was split and said Sneesby will “have every support of the board”.

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