Sydney–Australia’s leading web, Seven Network, has tapped programming topper Tim Worner as CEO after months of speculation.

Worner’s new role will bring him into direct competition with former colleague James Warburton, poached earlier this year by Network Ten, when Warburton takes over the reins at that rival web in January, following months of legal battles with his former employer.

Worner is coming off a strong season for Seven, which topped the ratings every week and delivered a 31.0 audience share for the year. Nine finished second, with a 26.3 share, with perennially third-ranked Ten at 21.4.

It is the fifth year in a row Seven has won the annual ratings, on the back of local hit skeins like “Packed to the Rafters,” and Stateside fare like “Bones,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

Worner, who started his career as a reporter in the Seven newsroom in Perth, said Seven was still finalizing its 2012 slate.

Exact details of the handover were not forthcoming, with current Seven topper David Leckie circumspect about retirement plans. Worner said he looked forward to working with Leckie in the New Year.