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TV boss reveals shock move

Craig McPherson
Seven West Media’s director of news and public affairs Craig McPherson has stepped down from his role. Picture: Britta Campion / The Australian

Seven West Media’s director of news and public affairs Craig McPherson has stepped down from his role with the national broadcaster.

The veteran news head did not give a reason for his departure, but said he had been considering the decision “for a while”.

“I believe now is a good time for all to have a fresh start,” he said in a statement issued on Monday.

“I’ll be taking a long break to spend time with all my family and wish everyone at the network continued success.”

Editor-in-chief of The West Australian, The Sunday Times, and PerthNow, Anthony De Ceglie, will take over the role.

Mr De Ceglie has been with Seven West Media for five years and also oversees the companies suburban and regional newspapers.

Craig McPherson
Seven West Media’s director of news and public affairs Craig McPherson has stepped down from his role. Picture: Britta Campion / The Australian

The Walkley Award winner also launched The Nightly, a free, digital-only newspaper.

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He described the appointment as an “an absolute privilege and honour to step into one of the most important roles in news in the country”.

“I can’t wait to work with the many, many brilliant creative people across the network who put all our products to air,” he said.

SWM Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Howard said Mr De Ceglie would bring a “compelling vision” to the role.

“His absolute focus on news gathering and storytelling will underpin his approach,” he said.

“This appointment reflects our ambition to think differently about the future of media in Australia.

“I look forward to working with Anthony in his new role.

“Craig has been one of Australia’s pre-eminent news leaders and we wish him all the best for the future”.

Mr McPherson played a pivotal role in leading Seven’s news offering over two stints with the broadcaster.

He oversaw a period of audience dominance at Sunrise and The Morning Show, with 7News likewise becoming the most wasted news nationally since 2015.

McPherson’s departure comes as the broadcaster faces criticism in recent months over its handling an exclusive interview on the Spotlight program with Bruce Lehrmann.

Seven's director of news and current affairs Craig McPherson (pictured). Picture: Supplied
Seven's director of news and current affairs Craig McPherson (pictured). Picture: Supplied

Former Seven Network producer Taylor Auerbach gave evidence about several payments he claimed were made to Mr Lehrmann before he agreed to the interview.

Mr Auerbach alleged in court during Lehrmann’s defamation action that payments included reimbursing Lehrmann for money he spent on illicit drugs and sex workers.

More recently, the Seven Network settled a defamation case lodge against it by Ben Cohen, a Sydney wrongly identified as the “lone wolf” Bondi attacker.

In a statement, Seven managing director Jeff Howard said the network “accepts the identification was a grave mistake” and that he assertions were “without basis”.
The terms of the settlement were not made public, with Mr Cohen having sought representation by high-profile defamation barrister Sue Chrysanthou SC.

In his farewell, Mr McPherson thanked the “hundreds of staff who represent the 7News brand across Australia and the globe”.

“You bring it all to our viewers’ homes every day and night,” he said.

“To the phenomenal news directors in every market and the leaders of Sunrise, The Morning Show and our digital team.

“You are central to why we have been and remain Australia’s number 1 news for the past nine years,” he continued.