Rumours that Richard Freudenstein would leave his post as CEO of Australian pay TV giantFoxtel have been confirmed with the news he is exiting “to pursue other interests”.
News Corp Australia CEO Peter Tonagh, who was previously Foxtel’s CFO and COO for nine years, will succeed Freudenstein as chief executive.
Freudenstein’s departure has been expected in Australian media circles for some time. Confirmation of the exit came today as more reports surfaced suggesting Foxtel co-parent Telstra was considering a sale of its stake.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. would likely move for Telstra’s 50% stake should that be the route the telco stakes, as News Corp has first-look rights. Other options for Telstra including a public float.
Foxtel’s pay TV operation is hugely profitable, but is under fire from SVOD platforms such as Netflix. This has led to concerns from Telstra about Foxtel’sperformance, according to SMH.
Freudenstein, meanwhile, will work with Tonagh on a transition over coming weeks before exiting in April. “Foxtel is an incredible business with an exciting future and I look forward to building on Richard’s contribution to deliver the next stage of Foxtel’s growth,” said Tonagh.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn stressed it would important Foxtel continued a forwards trajectory. “Peter is well positioned to lead Foxtel through the next phase of its evolution and build on Richard’s achievements,” he said.