Don Voelte takes CEO role at Oz net

SYDNEY — David Leckie, the veteran topper of Australia’s Seven West Media, which owns the Seven Network, has stepped down after 10 years and will segue to executive director of media for the group.

Board member Don Voelte will take on Leckie’s role. The former head of energy group Woodside from 2004 to 2011 does not come from a media background.

Leckie is one of Down Under’s most long-standing, successful and idiosyncratic TV execs, the last of a generation of tough-talking, no-nonsense broadcasters, who took both the Nine and Seven networks to the top of the ratings pile.

Leckie said in a statement: “It’s time for me to take a career step and I’m looking forward to playing a key role in Seven Group Holdings and further enhancing the company’s media presence.”

Despite talk that he had fallen out with Leckie, Seven West chairman Kerry Stokes paid tribute to Leckie, calling him “the best television executive in Australia.”

The moves come during a tumultuous week for the Aussie media.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd. has made a bid for James Packer’s Consolidated Media, which has interests in paybox Foxtel, and Stokes has indicated a possible rival bid for the feevee operator in which Seven has a share.

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