It’s no wonder Gyngell decided to
quit. Friends in Sydney’s eastern suburbs say he had become
increasingly frustrated and unhappy in the past few months as the
pressure from Seven’s ratings success, the loss of market share, the
falling ratings and softening bottom line, took their toll.

Gyngell
was reportedly not sleeping well and was searching for a solution. The
re-organisation presented to him late last week sorted out that option
for him and left him an out. Not even the ties of family could keep him.

Gyngell
has always felt he owed the Packer family a lot, especially Kerry. When
his father walked out of the family when David was around 15 years of
age, Kerry Packer and his family became a surrogate. So much so that
James Packer and David Gyngell became virtual brothers and best men at
each other’s weddings in 1999 (James) and 2004 (David Gyngell).

When
Bruce Gyngell was dying, so the story goes, Kerry Packer promised his
former manager that he would take care of his son. Which he did, with
honour. But even that wasn’t enough to keep David Gyngell at Nine. So
he’s broken free, making his intention clear by issuing his own
statement and taking control of his departure and not allowing the
Packer family and its spinners to take control.

Nothing symbolised David Gyngell’s struggles to break free of the Packers (and PBL CEO John Alexander) more than this statement:

I have today resigned from the post
of Chief Executive Officer of the Nine Network, effective forthwith. The
decision was mine, and mine alone. Not sought, nor pressured nor otherwise
influenced by any other party. It was reached only after long and very
careful consideration, and conveyed personally this morning with regret but
clear intent, to both Kerry and James Packer. I reached the determination
that I was simply not prepared to allow my position to be rendered untenable by
what I regard as increasingly unhelpful and multi-layered management systems
developing between Nine and PBL.

Without the absolutely and unmistakably
clear mandate required by all CEOs to properly run any major business, I
believed it was in my best interests to move on. I do so without rancour or bitterness, and express my genuine affection and
support for the Packers, Nine, its great people and its continuing excellent
product and ratings dominance. (I’ll see you all soon!)

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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