Catalano pushes Hywood for Prime chairman as tensions with Seven mount

Former Fairfax chief Greg Hywood is being pushed by property entrepreneur Antony Catalano as an unlikely candidate for the chairman’s seat at Prime Media in the latest twist in the saga surrounding the regional broadcaster.

Prime’s current chairman, former News Corp executive John Hartigan, will step down on Thursday following an investor vote on the planned takeover of Prime by Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media. The deal is expected to be voted down due to opposition from Mr Catalano, the executive chairman of regional publisher Australian Community Media who controls a roughly 15 per cent stake in Prime, and Bermuda-based WIN owner Bruce Gordon who holds a further 10 per cent.

Antony Catalano with former Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood.Credit:Louise Kennerley

The board has not yet begun a search for a new chairman, however sources familiar with the discussions said Mr Catalano had been discussing the future direction of the business and desirable candidates. The sources said Mr Hywood had been mentioned by the regional newspaper boss as a possible option.

Mr Hywood declined to comment. Sources close to Prime said there had not yet been any formal discussions about who the future chairman might be. However they said the chosen candidate was unlikely to be from traditional media and would have a background in strategy. Mr Hartigan announced in November 2018 that he would leave the business, amid speculation both he and Mr Hywood could be in the running for the ABC chairman role later filled by Ita Buttrose.


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