Seven owner Kerry Stokes has started to pull back from official commitments with a decision to retire from the chairmanship of Seven Group Holdings, of which he is the majority owner.
He will remain as chairman of Seven West Media – which owns the TV network, catch-up channel 7plus and publisher West Australian Newspapers – and says he plans to stay involved “in an advisory capacity and as a shareholder”.
Coca-Cola Amatil boss Terry Davis takes the chair at Seven Group Holdings, leading “an exceptional board of experienced directors, a talented, highly capable and hardworking management team and a strategic portfolio of businesses” he told the stock exchange.
He said he was confident he was leaving SGH in “the best possible hands” under the stewardship of Davis and the board, and the leadership of his son Ryan.
Seven Group Holdings owns 40.2 per cent of Seven West Media, as well as Caterpillar dealer WesTrac and hire company Coates, as well as investments in Boral and Beach Energy.
Stokes (pictured with prime minister Scott Morrison) has a long relationship with the newsmedia industry, including as a former owner of the Canberra Times. Current owners Antony Catalano and Alex Waislitz are looking to sell the premises, which used to contain a manroland Geoman press and a plaque announcing that the then chairman opened it on September 13, 1996.
The Stokes era ended a couple of years later, when Rural Press bought the paper, merged the business into Fairfax Media, and demerged it again when Nine bought metro but not regional publishing or anything to do with printing.
In Perth, SWM’s West Australian Newspapers is the publisher of the dominant West Australian, the Sunday Times – acquired from Rupert Murdoch – and a string of regional and community papers.