Nine Entertainment staff move ‘no confidence’ motion on Mike Sneesby, board as 200 jobs axed

Headshot of Cheyanne Enciso
Cheyanne Enciso
The Nightly
Former Nine chair Peter Costello and CEO Mike Sneesby.
Former Nine chair Peter Costello and CEO Mike Sneesby. Credit: AAP

Nine Entertainment staff have passed a motion of no confidence in chief executive Mike Sneesby and its board after it was announced the company is axing up to 200 jobs.

Mr Sneesby had announced the job cuts in a staff email on Friday morning, saying “we must continue to responsibly manage costs through the cycle”.

Hours after the email we sent, employees passed a motion of no confidence in Mr Sneesby and the board over the axing of staff, which the embattled media group blamed on an advertising slump and the end of a lucrative deal with Facebook’s parent Meta.

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Employees also met union officials from the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance to “immediately commence preparations for a protected action ballot”.

“We demand an explanation from the company about why the publishing division appears to have been disproportionately targeted for job losses, given the recent strong financial performance by the mastheads in a particularly difficult time for all print outlets, and given the fact that the Meta money was spent across the company, rather than just on the mastheads,” a MEAA statement said.

“As a result, staff across The Age, SMH, AFR, WAtoday and the Brisbane Times have today unanimously passed a motion of no confidence in Nine chief executive Mike Sneesby and the Nine Entertainment company board.”

Mr Sneesby said in his staff email Nine was reviewing key parts of the business to identify ways to continue to cut costs.

“From our nationwide team of almost 5000 people, around 200 jobs are expected to be affected across Nine including some vacant and casual roles not being filled,” he said.

“Where possible, we will look for opportunities to redeploy our team members who are impacted and we will support them throughout the process.”

In addition to its TV business, Nine is the publisher of The Australian Financial Review, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. It also has extensive radio interests throughout Australia.

It’s been reported that Nine publishing boss Tory Maguire told staff that 70 to 90 staff would be lost from the publishing division.

The media group is currently battling ongoing allegations of sexual harassment and bullying by past and present staff, which has prompted an internal investigation.

In particular, it has acknowledged “serious” claims of “alleged inappropriate behaviour” at the network by former news director Darren Wick.

Notwithstanding those allegations, Wick left the business with a reported golden handshake of $1 million.

Nine chairman Peter Costello has pushed a journalist to the ground at Canberra Airport.
Embattled Nine boss Peter Costello quit just days after footage emerged of him shirt-fronting a journalist at an airport. Credit: The Australian/Supplied

The job cuts come just weeks after its chairman Peter Costello quit over an ugly altercation with a journalist at Canberra airport.

Mr Sneesby added on Friday these were “tough decisions and I acknowledge it will be an uncertain period for some of you”.

“Today we will announce measures in our publishing business to offset the loss of revenue from the Meta deal and challenges in the advertising market,” he said.

“Unfortunately, this will result in some of our colleagues leaving us in the coming months.”

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