Marks leaves Southern Star

Callaghan takes over at Endemol-owned production company

SYDNEY -- Endemol-owned Australian production company Southern Star CEO Hugh Marks announced Wednesday (5) that he’s stepping down to head up his own media advisory company, with Southern Star Entertainment MD Rory Callaghan promoted to CEO, effective immediately.

That follows the announcement earlier this week that the Australian Broadcasting Corp’s executive head of TV content, Courtney Gibson is joining Southern Star as director of programmes.

Marks, a former Nine network executive, leaves just six months after steering the sale of the company to Dutch entertainment giant Endemol, with the subsequent merger of the distribution businesses of Southern Star and Endemol, headed up from London by Cathy Payne.

Marks is establishing a new business, Media Venture Partners, that will provide advisory services on the development, funding and production of content and content-based ideas to producers and distributors and will continue to assist Southern Star as an advisor.

During the seven years that Marks has been with Southern Star, the company has made over half a billion dollars worth of TV in Australia, the U.K. and Singapore including shows such as “Big Brother,” “Deal or No Deal,” “Love My Way,” “Rush,” and “Bluewater High."

“Southern Star is having one of the best years in the history of the company with 12 drama and children’s series currently in production.” Marks said in a statement. “That’s a credit to the people who work with Southern Star and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with some very talented people. I look forward to applying what I have learnt over my last 15 years at Nine and Southern Star in a wider context as the content world continues to change and evolve.”