It has been a week of sackings at WIN TV, the country's fourth commercial TV network and major affiliate of the Nine Network.
WIN is controlled by the 81-year-old Bruce Gordon, who this week sacked the chief financial officer and then, late yesterday, flicked successful CEO David Butorac who had been there about 18 months.
WIN is a regional affiliate of Nine and also owns the Nine metro stations in Adelaide and Perth. WIN also owns 11.9% of the Ten Network through a subsidiary.
Staff today said that morale had plunged on the news of the purges.
The reasons for the sackings are not known, but it seems the firing of the CFO was objected to by Butorac.
He pointed out, as do other staff, that WIN has been doing better than the TV industry generally this year and is probably the only free-to-air broadcaster in the black.
Gordon and a lawyer arrived at the WIN offices yesterday and sacked Butorac, who is now consulting lawyers.
In February last year, Gordon said when appointing Butorac: "David Butorac is a highly experienced media executive with over 25 years in the industry. He brings to our organisation a level of knowledge that will allow us to continue the strong growth we have already achieved and take us to the next level in the multimedia world."
A TV industry executive this morning said that one of the problems was that Butorac is a much more modern TV executive than Gordon could ever have been. The digital world, Pay TV, the internet were all things he had a far better understanding of than Gordon and his son, Andrew, who is chairman of WIN Corporation.
Butorac has worked with Foxtel, Star, Sky in London and in Pay TV in Malaysia.