Free TV is deeply saddened by the passing of Harold Mitchell AC, former Chairman of Free TV Australia and a distinguished Australian who left an indelible mark on the fields of media, advertising, the arts and philanthropy.
Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair, said: “Harold’s contributions to the industry cannot be overstated. During his time as Chairman of Free TV he was pivotal in some of the most significant developments in the commercial television sector and delivered superb leadership and advice. He left a lasting and important legacy at Free TV, having significantly changed the industry for the better and contributing to the sustainability and growth of free-to-air television in his time as Chairman. Harold’s strategic insights and steadfast commitment to the industry’s best interests contributed significantly to its resilience and relevance in an evolving digital era.
“Speaking personally, I am devastated at Harold’s loss. He was an outstanding Chairman for Free TV as well as being a personal friend and mentor. It was a great privilege to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from a respected business leader of his calibre with such a deep understanding of commercial television and the wider industry landscape. He was generous with his knowledge, his energy and his time in furthering the interests of Free TV broadcasters.
“He never lost his passion for the industry and remained in touch on every key issue even after stepping down as Chairman right up until recent weeks.” added Ms Fair.
One of Australia’s most successful and well-regarded media executives, Mr Mitchell was the founder of Mitchell & Partners and executive chairman of Aegis Media Asia Pacific. He also founded the Harold Mitchell Foundation and was a major contributor to Australian public life.
Mr Mitchell was a dedicated philanthropist, channeling his resources and influence to support various charitable causes. His contributions to education, healthcare, and the arts have left an enduring impact on communities across Australia, underscoring his unwavering commitment to social responsibility.
Mr Mitchell was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the community through leadership and philanthropic endeavours in the fields of art, health and education, and as a supporter of humanitarian aid in Timor-Leste and the indigenous community.
Some of the key issues in which Mr Mitchell has played a key role during his tenure as Free TV Chairman include the historic repeal of the media ownership laws, the removal of commercial television licence fees, the transition to digital only television, defeating the proposal to increase SBS advertising time limits and maintaining the anti-siphoning list.
Ms Fair concluded: “Harold was one of a kind, this is truly the end of an era. He will be sorely missed by Free TV and the commercial television industry. We thank him for his outstanding service and friendship. Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with his family and friends.”
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