Seven AGM: Stokes admits recent results disappointing, Worner outlines strategy, changes to board

Cost-cutting at Seven West Media

Tim Worner

Seven West Media held its AGM on Thursday, farewelling director Michelle Deaker (see below), while shareholders re-elected Kerry Stokes (92% in favour) and Jeff Kennett (82%).

Executive chairman Kerry Stokes told shareholders “our financial results over the past 12 months have been disappointing”. He added: “But, we are focused on ensuring we are more efficient, reducing costs and driving growth in shareholder value.

“Seven is using its mass audience from its market-leading television platform to drive revenue and new forms of content. Broadcast television will continue to be the cornerstone of our business, but television is changing and we must change to maintain our future profit.”

Stokes then referred to cost-cutting initiatives which CEO Tim Worner later expanded on.

Stokes talked about a “tough and challenging” 12 months and defended the company’s successful legal actions to protect the business in a matter “relating to a former employee”.

Worner said the business aims to remain the most profitable of Australia’s TV broadcasters and the company has earmarked savings of $105m over the next two years. He then outlined a four-point direction for the next 12 months:

“Our new strategy has been set. We are focused on the core, driving better results more cost effectively. At the same time our growth initiatives include:

1) capturing greater share of the total video market
2) growing our digital businesses
3) driving greater returns from our global production business
4) using the enormous reach of our audience to drive growth in new businesses

The company also appointed two new, non-executive and independent directors, Teresa Dyson and Michael Ziegelaar.

Their appointments follow the retirement of Michelle Deaker, who wishes to now concentrate on her successful, fast growing business One Ventures.

Dyson is currently a director of Energy Queensland Ltd, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Board and Energy Super, with long experience in strategic decision making and transforming structures of organisations in financial services, infrastructure projects, transport services and energy and resources sectors.

Ziegelaar is a senior partner of Herbert Smith Freehills, where he is Co-Head of Australian Equity Capital Markets and Head Of Clients – Melbourne Corporate.

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