What is going on at PBL? Machiavelli 101 perhaps?

There’s been speculation for some time that ACP’s golden run of out performance within the PBL empire could be coming to an end. There is a limit to how far costs can be cut while still churning out new titles in an increasingly competitive market.

Thus a close student of the Prince might not wish to be quite as closely associated with the magazine division as he was when it was the company’s star performer. Channel Nine types well remember how John Alexander side-stepped just as his chickens began to roost at Willoughby, leaving the mess in David Gyngell’s lap.

Hence, in the realm of speculation and opinion that surrounds the on-going PBL power plays, John Alexander could be happy to relinquish the title of ACP CEO to another. As the Janine Perrett line subsequently quoted by Peter Meakin goes, Alexander’s hands are on everything, his fingerprints on nothing.

Why David Gardiner was passed over though for a title he has earned is another matter for opinion. What would Machiavelli advise? It can be a risky business for a prince to have a duke who is too successful and ambitious – or perhaps the appointment of Ian Law has more to do with the relationship between James Packer and Alexander.

That is the main issue for PBL watchers to speculate on given the question mark that always exists about Kerry Packer’s health. Alexander’s great talent in ingratiating himself with KP has been well recognised. What’s not known is whether he has achieved anything similar with JP.

Or maybe PBL directors James Packer, Alexander and Chris Anderson were just so impressed by what they saw of Law when they’ve been sitting around the Hoyts board table together that they thought his was a talent PBL should have somewhere in the organisation. Maybe.

The only certainty is that Ian Law will have a very different work environment from the one he’s enjoyed at WAN. One trusts he has at least read The Prince.