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, of TV and Cable TV, but not of newspapers. 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. But he has considerable TV experience.
A former Nine executive here, a former Seven network exec 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.
Why Nine didn’t make him a serious offer when looking to find someone to run the network (instead they opted for David Gyngell), is one of the great mysteries of Park Street.
Well, the gossip 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 complete the deal. So where to now for Ten executive chairman, Nick Falloon and his strong-willed TV boss, John McAlpine?
Maybe Falloon could replace Hilmer as CEO of the new media giant and Evans would just run the television business. Then again, Falloon is worth more than $30 million after great options plays at PBL and Ten, so he doesn’t need the cash and that role would provide plenty of grief.
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