Channel Seven splits IT, executives leave

CFO gets IT budget

Channel Seven is losing its most senior IT executives in the wake of plans to transfer all IT spending decisions to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

The IT budget will no longer be managed by IT with a spokesman for the television network confirming yesterday the CFO, Peter Lewis, will take full responsibility for all IT spending, effective immediately.

Channel Seven has effectively split IT, with the CFO charged with the budget while operations is managed by the head of engineering, Trevor Bird.

The network's general manager of group IT services, Steven Longo, is leaving in December, 2006.

While Longo was willing to confirm his departure yesterday he refused to comment on claims Channel Seven is downgrading IT operations.

Longo is the second senior IT executive to leave Channel Seven with information systems manager Peter Whitford resigning earlier this year after more than 20 years with the network.

A Channel Seven spokesman downplayed the changes to IT, rejecting claims there was any kind of restructure or cost cutting plans. "The word restructure is too grand a term; IT has always been part of broadcast engineering," he said.

Despite repeated attempts to speak to the CFO, Peter Lewis, Computerworld was advised that all questions must be submitted in writing as very few people spoke to Lewis directly.

Plans by Channel Seven to split IT fly in the face of local trends.

According to the 2006 State of the CIO Survey, which interviewed 275 local CIOs, more than a third of Australian CIOs report directly to the CEO, rather than the CFO.

Compiled by CIO magazine, the survey supports similar research which found IT departments that report to the CFO are more likely to be seen as a cost centre instead of a strategic weapon used for competitive advantage.

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