February 22, 2013 / 3:06 PM / 5 years ago

Australia's troubled Ten Network sacks chief executive

PERTH, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Australia’s troubled third-ranked television station, Ten Network Holdings (TEN.AX), announced the sacking of its chief executive late on Friday, just a year after it poached him from rival operator Seven West Media Ltd.

In a statement to the stock exchange after the market close, Ten Chairman Lachlan Murdoch, son of News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch, announced the termination of James Warburton’s appointment, effective immediately.

Hamish McLennan, an executive vice president and adviser to Rupert Murdoch will replace Warburton, it said.

Australian newspapers and television networks are struggling in a tough market, with advertising depressed and competition intensifying on the Internet. Viewing options for the Ten Network’s key 16-to-39 year old target audience have boomed with access to smart phones and alternatives such as YouTube.

Ten, which counts some of the country’s richest people - including Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart and Lachlan Murdoch - among its top shareholders has been raising capital to pay down debt as it struggles to find hit shows.

Last October the company posted a A$12.9 million ($13.3 million) full-year loss and announced a round of redundancies as advertising sales fell 14 percent.

McLennan, who was global chairman and chief executive of advertising group Young & Rubicam before joining News Corp. in 2011, said he was looking forward “to leading Ten through a period of creative renewal and financial growth.”

Russell Howcroft, executive general manager of Ten, will act as chief executive until McLennan takes up his post on March 18.

Ten shares closed up 1 cent at 29.5 cents on Friday, prior to the announcement. (Editing by Stephen Nisbet)

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