Stokes takes control at WAN, names CEO

KERRY Stokes has been elected the new chairman of West Australian Newspapers, and his first duty was to reveal Chris Wharton as the publisher’s new chief executive.

Mr Wharton leaves his role as managing director of Channel Seven Perth to start at WAN on Monday. He has previous newspaper management experience, having been chief executive of Perth-based Community Newspaper Group until he joined Seven in 2000.

Mr Stokes, also chairman of Seven Network, said: “Mr Wharton’s broad media experience, his strategic thinking and his ability to build and lead a quality team of executives and staff will, I have no doubt, facilitate the continued growth of this unique and highly regarded West Australian business.”

The company also appointed two new directors, filling out the board to six after the departure last week of previous chairman Peter Mansell and directors Jenny Seabrook and Mel Ward.

Don Voelte, managing director and CEO of Woodside Petroleum Ltd, and Sam Walsh, chief executive of Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore group, join Mr Stokes, Peter Gammell, Doug Flynn and Graeme John, who was appointed to the board last week.

A company statement said the full board unanimously voted to elect Mr Stokes as chairman of the board.

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