David Aspinall, the chief operating officer of the Seven Network will
not be returning to his old job. He has been off for around nine months
with a middle ear infection and was due to return in January, then
February, and now never! This is what Crikey reported last October when
Seven TV CEO, David Leckie announced a sweeping management restructure:

Aspinall has been on sick leave for several months,
although he was well enough to give evidence in the early days of the
now aborted trial of former fellow Bond executive, Tony Oates in Perth.
Aspinall gave evidence in September about his recollections of certain
dealings. But he’s been sick with a bad middle ear infection that he
has found hard to shake. Seven sources say he is due back at work in
either late December, but January 2005 would be a better bet. That
would put him off work for around six months.

At one stage there was also a rumour that he was in some disfavour with
the board because of delays to the construction of Seven’s new Martin
Place studios in the heart of Sydney. In his memo Leckie said “With the
continuing absence of David Aspinall I have streamlined the management
structure of the network so we are all more efficient”.

It’s now understood that he will be working in the private company of
Kerry Stokes, the executive chairman and largest shareholder in Seven.

The most likely destination will be Australian Capital Equity, the key
holding company for the Stokes empire. Aspinall will not be missed by
Seven staff. He had a ‘toecutter’ reputation during his cost cutting
efforts at the network 18 months ago. Many of the changes he drove,
including centralising news and current affairs, were unwound last year
with staff being sent back to Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide from
Melbourne and Sydney.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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