Ten Network has appointed Paul Anderson as chief operating officer, positioning him as chief executive Hamish McLennan’s right-hand man.
Mr Anderson, a New Zealander who has been with Ten for 11 years, will continue as chief financial officer but now takes on additional responsibilities.
The move was triggered by Mr McLennan becoming executive chairman last month, creating the need for support on day-to-day operations. Mr McLennan retains his chief executive duties. Mr McLennan stepped up after Lachlan Murdoch resigned as chairman and director of Ten to accept non-executive co-chairman roles at News Corporation, publisher of The Australian, and global entertainment and film conglomerate 21st Century Fox.
The chief operating officer position has remained vacant since Jon Marquard resigned in July.
“Hamish has got his executive chairman’s hat on and there’s a lot going on so my role goes right across all the different functions,” Mr Anderson said. “Primarily, I’ve been here a long time now and know the place better than anyone. I can add support, horsepower and some in-depth knowledge.”
Mr Anderson joined Ten in 2003 and has held various senior finance roles.
“The role transcends all departments and gives me more authority to make things happen,” he said.
Most recently, Mr Anderson was instrumental in securing a $200 million loan from Commonwealth Bank guaranteed by Ten’s major shareholders, Mr Murdoch, James Packer and Bruce Gordon.
“Paul has been a great support to me … it is appropriate to expand his role,” Mr McLennan said, adding that handing Mr Anderson a more influential role would “allow the company to address operational challenges”.
Ten announces a half-year result today, and investors will be looking for signs of ratings and revenue improvement.
The broadcaster has made some positive progress across the summer after Ten landed the broadcast rights for V8 Supercars in a joint bid involving pay-TV operator Foxtel.
Citi expects Ten to deliver total TV revenue of $316m and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $7.1m. The broker has forecast an after-tax loss of $5.9m, excluding exceptional items.
Ten is not expected to pay an interim dividend.
“Our forecasts assume a modest recovery in revenue share, reflecting the current programming schedule and cost guidance,” Citi analyst Justin Diddams said.
Ten enjoyed audience-share gains on the back of live sport, including Cricket Australia’s Big Bash League and the Sochi Winter Olympics.
But the spike in ratings has not been sustained post-Olympics, and the market will focus on whether Ten can increase its investment in content to boost ratings and commercial revenue share next year.
Shares in Ten gained 4 per cent yesterday, or 1c, to 26c.