Fred Hilmer, the lingering CEO of John Fairfax, has told us not to read too much into the appointment of veteran Australian TV executive, David Evans, to the Fairfax board.
Fred warned us not to take the appointment as a sign of Fairfax’s interest in TV and that Mr Evans was simply a good media manager. Well, he is good at managing free to air and pay television businesses, but not of newspapers where he has zilch experience.
The closest he’s come to managing a newspaper would have been when he sat next to News Corp executives with newspaper experience when he worked for Murdoch in London and the US.
His television experience is undoubtedly strong. A former Nine executive here, a former Seven Network executive in LA for Christopher Skase in the dying months of the Qintex debacle, then time with Murdoch and now at Crown/Hallmark, Evans could easily run any of our three local networks.
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Why Nine didn’t make him a serious offer when looking to find someone to run the network (instead they opted for Kerry Packer’s god son David Gyngell), is one of the great mysteries of Park Street. Well, the goss from Rodeo Drive is that Evans is no seat warmer. His board position at Fairfax is designed to put him in place to run Ten once Fairfax can completed the deal. So where to now for Ten executive chairman, Nick Falloon and his strong-willed TV boss, John McAlpine?
Maybe Falloon could become the CEO of the media giant David Evans would just run the television division. Then again, Falloon is now worth $30 million thanks to his PBL and Ten Network options plays so he doesn’t exactly need the money.