Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner has said he is “filled with the deepest regret and shame” after reports emerged he had an affair with an executive assistant from the same company.
Details of the affair were made public yesterday and, since then, the company’s share price has plunged by $98 million.
Former executive assistant Amber Harrison lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission in May this year, after negotiations with the parties failed.
According to The Age, Seven West Media has confirmed Mr Worner apologised for the inappropriate relationship when it ended several years ago, and that the network paid Ms Harrison $100,000.
Ms Harrison was made redundant in November 2014, after an investigation into the alleged misappropriated use of the company’s credit card. “I believe the investigation was suggested by Tim in the hope I would resign,” Ms Harrison said in a statement.
Listen: Mia Freedman, Holly Wainwright and Monique Bowley discuss the ramifications of office affairs
At the time of the affair, Ms Harrison was the executive assistant to the CEO of Pacific Magazines Nick Chan (the print division of Seven West) and Mr Worner had not yet been appointed chief executive.
“The affair began the month after the [November 2012] board meeting at Pacific Magazines. We started flirting and soon after Tim began texting and emailing me for sex,” Ms Harrison’s statement read.”I knew he was married. It was never about love. It was about sex and power.”
Ms Harrison has alleged Mr Worner also had affairs with other staff members, a claim that Seven West Media denied in a statement.
“Seven agrees that the inappropriate consensual sexual relationship made public by Ms Harrison is deeply regrettable and the chairman has always made clear to Mr Worner that the alleged conduct, even though a personal matter, was completely unacceptable,” the statement from Seven said. “Allegations made in her statement which name other employees are rejected totally, including any allegation that other current or former employees have been paid off.”
Mr Worner has said he is working to “minimise the distress” felt by his wife and children. “They are the most important people in the world to me and I will continue to fight to repair the damage I’ve caused,’’ he said in a statement.
Feature image: Facebook/Tim Worner.