Harold Mitchell quits Free TV, ready to defend ASIC allegations

• Harold Mitchell will “vigorously defend” himself against accusations by the corporate watchdog

Free TV Australia announced yesterday that Harold Mitchell had decided to resign from his position as chairman.

Free TV CEO Bridget Fair said: “It is with great regret that Free TV announces that Harold Mitchell has taken the decision to resign as Chairman of Free TV. Harold’s contributions to the industry cannot be overstated. Over the past five years he has overseen some of the most significant developments in the commercial television sector and delivered superb leadership and advice, for which we are sincerely grateful.

“Harold’s expertise, experience and commitment will be very much missed throughout the organisation. He leaves a lasting and important legacy at Free TV, having significantly changed the industry for the better in his time as chairman.”

Free TV noted Mitchell has played a key role during his tenure as chairman include the historic repeal of the media ownership laws, the removal of commercial television licence fees, the transition to digital-only television, defeating the proposal to increase SBS advertising time limits and maintaining the anti-siphoning list.

Meanwhile The Australian reports Harold Mitchell will “vigorously defend” himself against accusations by the corporate watchdog that he breached his duties during a broadcast deal struck with Seven West Media while he was director of Tennis Australia.

Mitchell said he had been “forced” into making the decision to step down from his Free TV role following the “false accusations by (ASIC), which I intend to vigorously defend”.

See separate Seven statement regarding the ASIC investigation.

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