AUSTRALIA – SBS’s Managing Director Michael Ebeid is stepping down after seven years at the helm. Mr Ebeid, who has worked in the role since June 2011, made an emotional announcement to staff on Tuesday. “My decision to step down has been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made,” he said. “I absolutely love this place and what it stands for… SBS is very much a family.”
Under Mr Ebeid’s leadership, SBS launched On Demand, along with the Food Network and NITV free-to-air. He struck an exclusive content deal with VICE as well as securing rights agreements for the FIFA World Cup and Tour de France and deals for the English Premier League and A-League.
Mr Ebeid told staff: “What we do makes a difference to people’s lives and helps shapes the society in which we live. 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.”
Mr Ebeid was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours for “significant service to the broadcast media and multicultural affairs as an executive, innovator and business leader”. In 2017, he won The CEO Magazine’s CEO of the Year award. “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.”
Mr Ebeid will depart SBS on 1 October and he will make an announcement in the coming weeks about his next role. His successor is yet to be announced.
SBS Chairman Dr Hass Dellal thanked Mr Ebeid on behalf of the SBS Board of Directors. “I want to thank Michael enormously for his service and dedication,” he said. “Whilst we are very disappointed that Michael is leaving us, there is no doubt that he departs an organisation which is stronger, sustainable and backed by an important and valued purpose to contribute to the ongoing social and economic development of our nation through media services which foster greater understanding and encourage social cohesion. There have been many, many achievements for our organisation under Michael’s leadership and he has ensured we have a very strong and experienced executive team in place to take the organisation forward. We all wish Michael all the very best in his next endeavours.”
Dr Dellal said the board will immediately begin the recruitment process for a new managing director.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield thanked Mr Ebeid for his “exceptional leadership”. “Mr Ebeid has been a strong leader with a clear vision for SBS and the role it plays in supporting social cohesion and fostering a greater understanding of difference,” he said. “Under Mr Ebeid’s leadership, SBS has undertaken a deep commitment to Indigenous Australians and their stories through the launch of National Indigenous Television (NITV) as a national free-to-air television channel. This will be one of Mr Ebeid’s abiding legacies. Mr Ebeid has demonstrated a profound commitment to public broadcasting and the contribution it makes to media diversity and civic journalism. The Government thanks Mr Ebeid for his service to the nation and wishes him well for his future endeavours.”