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New Chief at SBS

Mr Michael Ebeid will be the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of SBS. He will commence on 13 June 2011.

Ebeid’s broadcast experience has been in the public and commercial spheres.

Previously Ebeid was at the ABC, where he was the Executive Director of Corporate Strategy and Marketing.

Prior to that Ebeid spent ten years with Optus Communications. His last role was Director of  Commercial Operations for the Consumer Division, responsible for strategy, business development, regulatory and finance across internet, Pay TV and telephony. Earlier, Ebeid worked at IBM for nine years in Australia and Asia.

SBS Chairman, Mr Joe Skrzynski, said: “Mr Ebeid brings to SBS a special set of personal and professional skills, with the right blend of operational and strategic experience from his twenty-four years in the Media, Telecommunications and IT technology sectors which represent the three arms of the convergence changing the entertainment and information landscape in Australia.

“He is extremely well suited to lead SBS in its mission to promote social harmony by helping migrants to settle and participate fully in Australian society, and assisting all Australians to understand and appreciate the benefits of cultural diversity.

“As SBS moves into its fourth decade, its Charter is more vitally relevant than ever. Not only is our population manifestly more complex and diverse, but today there are three million Australians whose first language is not English and that is twice as many as when we were first formed,” Mr Skrzynski said.

On his appointment, Mr Ebeid said: “I am very excited to be joining SBS, an organisation that has been inspiring its audiences to explore and appreciate our multicultural world, and has helped contribute to a more inclusive Australian society. I am looking forward to ensuring that SBS grows its relevance and reach at a time when the media landscape and audience habits are fundamentally changing. SBS is an organisation that can and does make a difference, and it is an honour to lead it.”

Ebeid was born in Cairo, Egypt, and moved to Australia with his family when he was three years old.

In the past 24 years Ebeid has worked in senior management and executive roles across the technology, telecommunications and media industries.

At the ABC he led the creation of the ABC’s first cross divisional strategic marketing plan,

Prior to the ABC when Ebeid when at Optus Communications, he was Director of Commercial Operations (CFO/COO) for Consumer and Multimedia, Optus’ largest division with over 3000 staff. He led the formation of the division in 1999 when revenues were $560m, then embarked on a series of strategic initiatives turning the business around and taking revenues to $1.8b in four years. He was responsible for managing the division’s finance, strategy, regulatory and business development teams across telephony, internet and Pay Television. Ebeid also played a key role in Optus Television’s Digital Interactive TV launch and the Foxtel/Optus Content Sharing deal in 2001, and was on the Board of Pay TV’s industry body, ASTRA, from 2001-2005.

Prior to Optus, Ebeid was an executive at IBM for nine years in various finance management, sales and marketing positions, and worked in Tokyo and other Asian countries.

Ebeid has a Bachelor of Business (Charles Sturt University), International Executive Development Program (INSEAD Business College, France), and Media Strategies Program (Harvard Business School).

Ebeid was raised and educated in Sydney where he lives with his partner.

His interests are in Film, the Arts and Current Affairs, and his leisure activities include scuba diving, water skiing, sky diving and travel.

Ebeid replaces Shaun Brown.

SBS Chair, Mr Skrzynski paid tribute to Mr Brown. In August last year Brown announced his retirement. He may be credited for convincing the SBS Board in 2006 to run advertisements within programs. At the time, described as a “bold” move, but one that offended many in the community.

7 comments to New Chief at SBS

  • Peter J

    Aside from his place of birth, what’s his past record with other cultures? And why is he "well suited" to help migrants settle? Sounds to me like he’s a commercial guy who happens to have worked in the media. I don’t want to pre-judge the man BUT is he committed to public broadcasting? Marketing! Commercial background!!! These sound alarm bells for me. I want SBS to take the non-commercial path. Get rid of the ad breaks, please! Having just heard an ABC Radio interview with SBS I now feel very worried indeed. The Chairman of SBS wasn’t advocating to get rid of the ads. When asked, he seems not to mind them. No wonder SBS has ads. I can’t ever recall hearing of SBS asking any government for funds instead of ads. Mr Ebeid: perhaps you might be the first. Please.

  • Michelios D.

    didn’t hear the interview but read transcript on that link. the sbs chairman said – sbs is ‘not an ethnic TV or radio’ station. hey? think i missed something? that explains the commercials. not ethnic. now it’s offical. thanks.


    SBS is ok. i like it. I’d like to see more ethnic programs though. i agree the ads are very annoying. it would be good if they could be stopped, or at least less of them. I hope this mr Ebeid will try to take the sbs there. if he has a background as a strategist, it can’t be that difficult to get enough funding from the government for such a good cause. afterall, no one really wants the ads, do they

  • sam

    I agree and disagree with everyone. i listened to that interview http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/news/audio/pm/201104/20110415-pm6-joeskrzynski.mp3 Unlike Peter J’s interpretation, i dont think the sbs chairman said if he favoured the ads or not. he said that if the government has enough money to buy out the advertising, that may be an option for the future. i took his comment as hope, although he didn’t sound like he really cared one way or the other. i for one would like him to care about the ads and start pushing the government to get them out of the programs at least.

    it does seem odd that SBS wanted a marketing person to run the organisation when evrone i know hates and disagrees with the ads on sbs. Aren’t advertising people also marketing people. it does come across that sbs have ignored the wider public sentiment. hasn’t sbs noticed the public outcries,that no one wants the commercial approach anymore. however the article above did say mr Ebeid was responsible for strategy at pay tv and I agree with Ahuva that a good strategist should be able to use their skills to get the government to do as the chairman said – to buy out advertising. so i’ll judge Mr Ebeid by what he does and does not do, not his past. I’m prepared to give him a go. I think everyone else should too

  • Milena

    SBS is great. I probibly listen to radio more than watch tv. The SBS radio advertisments are inforative and not often that annoying but the ads on SBS tv are just wrong. They should not have them in the tv programs. The tv ads were okay when they were at the end of the program. That’s the way it should be and I think this new person should make SBS go back to that way.

  • Madge

    As long as SB has gone who cares. I hope he takes MC with him.
    If his only credit is that he brought commercials to SBS then he will have to live with that shame himself. It’s a wonder he can sleep at night.

    Mr Ebeib couldn’t be any worse. Seriously nothing could.

  • Staff Member

    The new SBS MD is stated to have “both a strong commercial background and experience seeking cost savings by rationalising production resources”. That sentence could have been cribbed from a similar piece after Shaun Brown was appointed to the position, because the same thing could have been said of him.

    Having a managerial type with little experience of broadcasting and little understanding of SBS is the last thing the place needs after years of Brown and Campbell. Having eviscerated all trace of identity and distinction from SBS in the name of chasing ratings and thus advertising revenue, we had perhaps hoped that the board would see fit to appoint someone who understands that public broadcasters exist at least partly to serve a constituency whose interests are not (and will never be) served by commercial interests.

    Sadly this appears not to be the case, and we are destined for more of the same mediocrity, a mediocrity which fails to even deliver the supposed raison d’etre of the strategy — the decimation of the schedule hasn’t even increased SBS TV’s audience reach. Still at least the new MD may not sink to such managerial lows as making half the subtitling unit redundant at a cost of hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars, only to re-hire 10 new people in the unit in the nine months since the redundancies (of course, the 10 new staff are on contract so they keep their mouths shut whereas those made redundant were permanent and vocal).