Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) has revealed its new CEO.
Ford Ennals, currently the CEO of Digital Radio UK, will take the reins on April 4.
He replaces outgoing Joan Warner, who has been in the top job for over two decades.
In announcing the appointment, CRA chairman and CEO of Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), Grant Blackley, noted the increased importance of digital for the sector both in terms of listening habits and revenue growth opportunities.
“Ford brings a unique combination of skills and experience to the role having worked with major global brands with a deep understanding of marketing and customers, and leading both television and radio sectors into the digital age in the UK with great success,” he said.
“He is an entrepreneurial change agent and leader in digital transformation, both of which will be valuable skills at CRA as the audio industry is well on its way to digital transformation.
“After a rigorous global search for our new CEO, we are delighted to have someone of Ford’s caliber joining the Australian industry at a very exciting time.”
Ennals has led the UK radio industry’s transition to digital listening. Throughout his tenure at Digital Radio UK, digital listening trebled to almost two thirds of all radio listening.
In a previous role as founding CEO of Digital UK, he was responsible for working with broadcasters and the UK Government to convert UK homes to digital TV.
He’s also been brands director for Mars, vice president of worldwide marketing for Reebok, and CEO of Universal Music’s direct division in the UK.
He said he’s looking forward to his new role with CRA.
“Australia is one of the most advanced and dynamic radio and audio markets in the world and I am truly excited to be joining the Australian radio sector at what is an inflection point in its history,” he said.
“It’s an honor to be appointed to the role of CEO of Commercial Radio Australia and I look forward to working with the radio industry and all stakeholders to ensure radio, podcasting and the broader audio ecosystem continues to thrive and achieve its potential with both listeners and brands.”
Current CEO Warner finishes up at the end of the month.
Blackley thanked Warner for all she had achieved for the industry throughout her tenure.
“I would also like to pay tribute to Joan Warner for an outstanding tenure at CRA, her dynamic leadership over the past 21 years has been instrumental in the growth of commercial radio in Australia,” he said.
“Joan has guided the organization through the development of several important projects including the industry-wide ad buying platform RadioMATRIX, the development of podcasting and voice tech initiatives, the launch of DAB broadcasts, the launch of our industry app, and the move to a new audience measurement system.
“CRA is well positioned to embrace its digital future.”