SBS chief executive officer and managing director Michael Ebeid has announced his intention to step down from the broadcaster.
Ebeid’s last day at SBS will be 1 October, almost seven-and-a-half years since taking over as managing director in 2011.
In a statement issued by SBS, Ebeid said:
“My decision to step down has been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made. Serving as the SBS Managing Director has been a real honour and privilege and I depart feeling confident that this is the right time for a new Managing Director to take the organisation forward.
“SBS is the strongest it has been in over 40 years. We are more relevant than ever and we are ready for the future. Considering the struggle of societies globally to integrate diverse communities harmoniously, SBS today performs a critical role in the Australian community. We are the media organisation audiences can come to, on their preferred platform or device, for distinctive programs and different perspectives that create a better shared understanding within our diverse, multicultural society.
“We have been through a lot of change over the past seven years and our successes have only been achievable with the support of the SBS Board of Directors, our SBS Executive team and of course, our dedicated SBS employees. The SBS team is the most passionate and committed that I’ve worked with in my 30 year career. Our people come to work every day motivated to make an impact and I’ve learned a lot from them during my tenure.
“Importantly, I depart the organisation knowing that we have a very strong and experienced leadership team to help guide SBS forward. The organisation is honoured and humbled that SBS is valued by the communities we were created to serve four decades ago, and whom are at the heart of our organisation and the decisions we make today.”
In the years of Ebeid’s tenure, SBS has increased its television audience, embraced on demand viewing, revamped its radio programming, added NITV to its channel suite, secured long-term contracts with the Tour de France and FIFA World Cup and negotiated Australia’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.
He has fronted senate estimates to defend SBS funding and has been an advocate for SBS at a time when both national broadcasters are facing intense scrutiny of their role in the broadcasting landscape. (Both SBS and ABC are currently under a competitive neutrality review being conducted by the Government)
His announced departure comes just after SBS was gifted broadcast rights to all FIFA World Cup games when Optus, which had picked up part of SBS’ commitment in a sub-licencing deal, failed to adequately deliver its coverage online.
An announcement of Ebeid’s successor at SBS will be made in due course.