The King is dead – long live the King(s)! From the press release:

Peter Meakin yesterday announced his decision to step down as Director of News and Public Affairs for the Seven Network. Mr Meakin will continue with Seven in a senior advisory role on the network’s news and public affairs programming.

“It’s time to pull the plug on this chapter of my life,” he said.

“It’s been a wonderful nine years and I want to thank everyone who has taken Seven to the top. “That includes Kerry Stokes, David Leckie, Tim Worner and all the great people who made me look better than I am. The credit for our market leadership belongs to those who host and produce our programmes, the reporters, cameramen, sound recordists, editors and hundreds of other dedicated professionals too numerous to name. I am confident that I leave this division in the very best of hands. The best thing about leaving now is that I can read my obituaries while I’m still alive. And, if they’re unflattering, I can sue.”

Mr Meakin joined Seven in 2003. He has led Seven to leadership in breakfast television, morning television, nightly news and public affairs and in weekly public affairs with Sunday Night. Seven News and Today Tonight are in their eighth consecutive year of leadership and Sunrise is now in its ninth consecutive year of leadership.

Commenting, the Chairman of Seven West Media, Kerry Stokes, said: “Peter is a legend. Nine years ago, I set out to secure his services for Seven. He agreed to join our network as it set its sights on leadership, and today his track record speaks for itself: with his leadership of market-leading news and public affairs at two television networks over the past two decades. There’s no one quite like Meakin. He has played a most critical role in driving home our leadership and I’m pleased that he’ll continue to play a key role as we identify and nurture our future in news and public affairs on the Seven Network.”

Seven Network CEO, Tim Worner said: “Working alongside Peter has been a great privilege and an experience I’m pleased to report we have both survived. Peter’s achievements over his stellar career are to be celebrated, in particular his time here where he has played a key role in Seven’s success. Because of the sheer volume of news and public affairs programming on Seven, going forward the role will be split into two senior executive positions. This change of structure recognises our commitment to what is a critical part of our business. We intend to grow our Seven News and public affairs offering in 2013.”

Following Mr Meakin’s decision to transition to his new role, Seven today announced the appointment of Rob Raschke as Director of News and Neil Mooney as Director of Public Affairs. Mr Raschke is currently News Director for Channel Seven Brisbane which is now in its seventh consecutive year of news leadership in that market. His career in journalism includes a Walkley Award as a foreign correspondent for the ABC, management of Seven’s Federal Parliament Bureau and news coverage at three Olympic Games. He was also a founding executive producer of Sky News Australia. His first job in media was as a cadet journalist at The Australian.

Mr Mooney – a former executive producer of Today Tonight and A Current Affair and founding executive producer of the Sunday programme on Nine – takes on an expanded role at Seven as Director of Public Affairs. He will also continue in his role as Managing Director of Seven Queensland, Seven’s network of television stations along the Queensland coast.