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Seven boss cleared of misconduct claims

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Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner will remain in his job after an investigation cleared him of explosive misconduct allegations made by a former employee with whom he had an affair.

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An independent review of allegations of credit card misuse, drug use and vindictive behaviour, made by former executive assistant Amber Harrison, has concluded the claims are not supported.

The broadcaster’s board says there are no grounds to take any further disciplinary action against Worner, who is married, beyond the action which was taken in 2014 when the company became aware of his affair with then employee Amber Harrison.

“The board has addressed all the issues that have been raised and is confident that Mr Worner will continue to run the company in the interests of all shareholders,” the company said in a statement to the stock exchange today.

The review, by litigation and investigations lawyer Richard Harris, will not be made public but Seven said the investigation found neither Worner or his office played a part in identifying credit card misuse by Harrison, nor in the payment of a bonus to her.

“Mr Worner did not influence, nor play any role, in the awarding of the bonus to Ms Harrison other than signing the letters which informed her, and other executive assistants, of their bonus,” the statement said.

“There were no irregularities in Mr Worner’s corporate credit card use.”

The statement also said allegations of illicit drug use by Worner could not be substantiated.

The announcement of the report findings comes a day after director Sheila McGregor suddenly resigned from the Seven West board.

McGregor is a partner at Gilbert + Tobin Lawyers in Sydney and an experienced commercial adviser.

Her departure was announced after the close of market on Thursday, with no reason given.

Worner’s relationship with Harrison, which ended in 2014 before he became CEO, became public knowledge in December when Harrison contacted numerous media outlets with details of the affair and allegations that she had been treated vindictively by the company.

The board’s statement said that while the relationship between Harrison and Worner was consensual, it was “inappropriate given his senior position in the company and
not behaviour condoned by the company”.

“Mr Worner has been disciplined by the Chairman and the Board and provided an undertaking this behaviour will not be repeated, as well as an apology.”

The board said it was “aware that there were a number of communications that passed between Mr Worner and Ms Harrison that were of a highly personal nature that used language and expressed concepts that the Board finds totally objectionable”.

“However, the Board is of the view that the communications were consensual, personal and private in nature and were only disclosed as a result of a breach of express confidentiality obligations.”

– with AAP

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