'Right move' for MediaWorks chair to resign, says ex-MediaWorks executive

Kristin Hall
Source: 1News

The board chair of radio company MediaWorks has resigned just over a week after the release of a scathing report into the company culture.

It found problems with sexual harassment, racism, bullying and gender pay equity.

The report by Maria Dew QC sparked six separate employment investigations and uncovered serious concerns including several allegations of sexual assault along with cases of bullying, racism and pay inequity.

In a statement today, Jack Matthews said he’s decided to resign with immediate effect after five years as the board chair.

He said he was proud of the work that’s been done at MediaWorks but that it’s clear from the recent culture review that there are “systemic, longstanding cultural issues that need to be urgently and proactively addressed”.

“Part of that action must include bringing new leadership that can bring a fresh perspective to the challenges we face and address the issues identified in the Maria Dew report,” he said.

1 NEWS has spoken to one former executive today who says the departure is part of what appears to be a bit of a clearing out at the company.

“Jack Matthews needs to be held accountable, it’s absolutely the right move,” they said.

They said they wouldn’t be surprised if there are more high-level resignations in the not-too-distant future.

“There’s a real catalyst of change we’re starting to see which should enable [current CEO] Cam Wallace to really adopt and implement changes.”

Dew gathered information from more than 600 current and former staff as part of her report. She found “only a small group” of MediaWorks employees came forward to say they did not see anything wrong with the culture.

Dew said these people were mostly managers and mostly male.

“They believed it was only a small number of disgruntled staff complaining on social media or in this review. These participants … had been with the business for many years and generally saw those few unhappy people as not “cut out” for the industry,” her report stated.

“I acknowledge these employees may have difficulty recognising the problematic culture described in this Report,” she said.

MediaWorks says work is already underway to address many of the 32 recommendations that were made in the review to help improve the culture. It says existing independent board member Wayne Stevenson will step into the chair position in the interim to oversee this.