Screenwest CEO Seph McKenna has departed the organisation just nine months into his five year term.
The reasons for McKenna’s departure are currently unclear, with Screenwest’s press statement simply saying: “Screenwest and Mr Seph McKenna have parted ways, effective immediately”.
Chair Janelle Marr said: “The board thanks Mr McKenna for his contribution to Screenwest during his time with the organisation, and wish him well for his next endeavours.”
The Screenwest board is commencing an immediate recruitment search to replace McKenna, with former board chair Peter Rowe to provide interim support. The organisation has advised that all funding rounds will continue as scheduled.
McKenna joined Screenwest in December last year from Roadshow, where he was the head of Australian production.
In July 2017, Screenwest transitioned from a government agency into an independent non-profit organisation, though continues receive funds from the Western Australian government and Lotterywest. Earlier this year, McKenna told IF this move gave the agency flexibility and opportunity to ramp up its production attraction by building partnerships with organisations in a way that may have previously been in conflict with government policy or restrictions.
However, Lotterywest is a declining source of revenue for the organisation. The Australian reported earlier this year that lottery driven revenue was declining in WA by almost $300 million per year and that $16.5 million out of $25 million multi-year grants issued by the state’s arts department were due to be funded with revenue from Lotterywest, but a nearly $2m gap opened up between what it was able to eventually deliver.
In recent months Screenwest has made a variety of new appointments including Franziska Wagenfeld as a factual executive, Ross Grayson Bell as scripted executive and Gabrielle Cole production attraction and services coordinator.
IF has contacted Screenwest for further comment.