Southern Cross Media Group Limited (ASX: SXL) has announced that Grant Blackley will step down as Managing Director and CEO on 30 June 2023. Current Chief Operating Officer John Kelly has been appointed as Managing Director and CEO from 1 July 2023.
In the next two months, Mr Blackley will provide Mr Kelly with a comprehensive transition. Mr Blackley has also agreed to extend his contractual post-employment restraint period from six months to nine months.
SCA Chair Rob Murray said, “Grant has made a significant contribution to SCA since joining in June 2015. Under his leadership, SCA has become a truly national media business. This included rolling out our market-leading radio brands Triple M and Hit around the country, acquiring the Redwave stations in Western Australia, expanding SCA’s national sales representation to 51 non-owned radio stations, and establishing national management structures and reporting lines. More recently, we have launched our LiSTNR ecosystem as the centrepiece of SCA’s digital transformation and invested in digital infrastructure to enable our audiences to enjoy our live and on-demand content anywhere, at any time, on the device of their choice.
“The Board has appreciated Grant’s leadership over his term and particularly through the challenges presented by the lockdowns and uneven recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is also a credit to Grant that he embraced and led constructive cultural change, along with a robust succession planning process throughout his tenure. This has given the Board confidence in appointing John Kelly as Grant’s successor.”
Grant Blackley said, “During my eight years at SCA, I have been privileged to design and lead a highly collaborative and talented team of dedicated people located across the length and breadth of Australia. I thank each person for their support and dedication.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to hand the baton to a natural successor in John Kelly. Having worked with John for over 20 years, both at SCA and previously at the Ten Network, I know he is the right person to lead the next growth phase at SCA. I look forward to supporting John through his transition and then to watching SCA’s future success under John’s leadership.”
John Kelly brings extensive strategic, operational, and financial leadership experience from 25 years working for Australian media and sporting organisations. He spent 16 years in executive roles at the Ten Network, including eight years as Group CFO, and then three years as Chief Operating Officer at Football Federation Australia, before joining SCA as Chief Operating Officer in 2016. In his current role, Mr Kelly oversees SCA’s general management teams, strategy, research and insights, and digital audio, as well as facilitating SCA’s key sporting rights, television affiliations, and digital audio partnerships.
Mr Murray said, “The Board is delighted to confirm John’s appointment as Managing Director and CEO. John has an intimate understanding of SCA’s radio, television, and digital audio portfolio of assets, and he has been pivotal in leading the digital transformation of the group’s business model to position SCA for future growth.
“John is universally respected around the business for his balanced and engaging leadership style, his ability to build effective and accountable teams, and for his strong networks in the wider media industry. The Board is confident he will hit the ground running in leading SCA’s next stage of growth.”
John Kelly said he is honoured, energised, and excited by the opportunity to take on the role as Managing Director and CEO of SCA. “Despite ongoing challenges in advertising media markets, the changes we have made in recent years have positioned SCA to take advantage of emerging and accelerating digital trends. SCA has unparalleled national reach supported by market-leading research and insights and a team of creative and passionate people focused on delivering sustainable value to our advertisers, audiences, communities, and shareholders.”
During the coming transitional period, Mr Kelly and the Board will review the structure of the group’s executive team and reporting lines. At this stage, it is not intended that the group will appoint a new Chief Operating Officer.