Nine CEO Hugh Marks will remain in his role until well into next year as the media company begins the search for a new chief.
In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Nine Entertainment Co on Monday said Mr Marks will step down as CEO and director “at some stage during the second half of FY21”.
The announcement follows a weekend of media speculation about Mr Marks’ decision to quit the television, print and radio company.
Until he exits, the 54-year-old will “actively continue” in his role as group CEO as the board works to find a replacement.
Nine’s chairman Peter Costello paid tribute to Mr Marks.
Mr Marks told Nine staff on the weekend that he was stepping down, five years after he took the helm.
In Monday’s statement, Mr Marks said his brief, five years ago, had been to lead the transformation of the television business to a digitally-based media company.
“We have achieved so much in that time frame. Bringing together three legacy media businesses, each with their own structural challenges, and investing in the assets that will ensure our position at the forefront of Australia’s media future,” Mr Marks said.
AS CEO he presided over the company’s 2018 merger with Fairfax newspapers and the acquisition of the Macquarie Media radio network.
Mr Marks said that with almost 50 per cent of the company’s earnings now sourced from digital assets, providing a clear growth profile for the company, he was confident it was now an “opportune time to announce my retirement”.
Mr Costello paid tribute to Mr Marks.
“We respect Hugh’s decision, allowing us plenty of notice to work through the next few months, and enable an orderly transition. We wish him well in all his future endeavours,” he said.