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Warburton new topper at Ten

Exec was formerly with Seven

Australia’s Ten Network has poached James Warburton from rival web Seven to be its new CEO just a week after its shock ousting of Grant Blackley, who had only been in the job since December.

Majority shareholder Lachlan Murdoch, who had stepped in as interim CEO, is likely to remain in the post until Warburton, Seven’s chief sales and digital officer, starts in July.

No reason was given for Blackley’s termination.

Ten chairman Brian Long called Warburton “a high calibre media executive with an enviable track record.”

But the appointment may not have pleased everyone. In a surprise announcement, Ten also said James Packer had quit the board.

Packer was appointed in November after he and Murdoch purchased a controlling 18% of Ten in a share raid last year.

No reason was given for his sudden resignation, but it may signal a protest at Warburton’s hiring and provides further upheaval for the group that has sacked two toppers since Murdoch and Packer, both scions of media giants, took the reins.

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