Warburton returns to Seven as CEO

James Warburton

ARG non-executive director and former Supercars CEO and James Warburton has returned to Seven West Media (SWM) as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Warburton will take up the position immediately after the resignation of Tim Worner from the role, as announced by SWM chairman Kerry Stokes this morning.

The appointment marks a return to the company for Warburton, who was Seven’s chief sales officer before defecting to Network 10 to become its CEO.

“This is an exciting time for Seven as we welcome James back to the company,” said Stokes.

“James has extensive experience in the industry with knowledge across media, advertising, sports administration, marketing and particularly sales.

“His passion and energy will reinvigorate the team. We look forward to the contribution he will make.”

Warburton lasted only 13 months in his role at 10, which he only took up in early 2012 after Seven successfully delayed his official start.

A short time later, he joined what was then known as V8 Supercars as its CEO, replacing another CEO with a brief tenure in David Malone, who had failed to secure a favourable television deal for the championship.

Warburton, however, inked a lucrative contract with Fox Sports and 10 before the year was out, which would yield $241 million over six years and saw a pay television network become the senior rights holder for the first time in Supercars/ATCC history.

During his time at Supercars, he also signed on the Championship’s first naming rights sponsor in almost a decade-and-a-half, which saw it rebranded in mid-2016 from the ‘(International) V8 Supercars Championship’ to the ‘Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’, as well as a host of other commercial agreements.

Under his watch, Supercars also secured championship status for its Australian Grand Prix support races for the first time, and the Gen2 rules were introduced, although an Asian event, another of his key goals, still has not materialised.

Warburton left Supercars in 2017 after his contract was not renewed, although he denied that a pay dispute was the reason for the departure, and returned to advertising.

However, he has since come back to motorsport with the burgeoning Australian Racing Group, promoter of national TCR series in Australia and now New Zealand, and as local manager for Simona De Silvestro, having been instrumental in her arrival in Supercars as a full-time driver in 2017.

Speedcafe.com has attempted to contact Warburton to seek clarity on the status of his relationships with ARG and De Silvestro.

Stokes did state in his SWM announcement that, “We are fortunate that James was available to commence immediately.”

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