Channel Seven boss Jeff Howard sends bizarre email to network staff after taking over from James Warburton

Seven Network’s new boss has started his tenure in the top job with an email in which he bizarrely brags about his down-to-earth and family values ​​while warning he won’t tolerate ‘bad apples’ as the broadcaster suffers a series of recent devastating scandals.

Jeff Howard sent an email to introduce himself to staff after taking over in the wake of the hasty departure of James Warburton, who left Seven West Media’s top job on Thursday – two months early.

Mr Warburton’s immediate departure, which was only announced that day, came in the wake of stunning revelations. Seven secured an exclusive interview with accused rapist Bruce Lehrmann by paying for drugs and sex workers.

The network is also being sued by university student Benjamin Cohen, who was wrongly reported by Seven as the crazed Westfield Bondi Junction knifeman who fatally stabbed six innocent bystanders last Saturday.

New Seven West Network CEO Jeff Howard (right) took over from James Warburton (left) on Friday.

Mr Howard was promoted from the role of Seven’s Chief Financial Officer to the top job.

“As you know, James left yesterday and I assumed my new role today,” the staff email began.

Mr Howard acknowledged that it had been “a difficult few weeks for the wonderful people at Seven” but wanted to “offer some reflections that may help us moving forward”.

“First, some revelations,” Mr. Howard wrote.

‘I am a family man first and foremost. I’ve never smoked. I don’t take any medications. Never has, and never will.

‘Call me boring, but I don’t even drink coffee.

‘Personally, I like to stay fit and try to run every day. Every now and then – as with many people – there is a glass of red wine or a beer.

‘The important thing is that I am alone. People can do whatever they want in their own time. I won’t judge.

‘But if it affects others – or the workplace – it’s a different story.’

Mr Howard warned staff against adopting a ‘win at all costs’ attitude and told staff they needed to ‘re-familiarize themselves with ‘proven processes’ that ensured ‘the reputation we have spent years building would be endangered’.

In his introductory email to all staff, Mr Howard warned that 'bad apples' 'will be moved'

In his introductory email to all staff, Mr Howard warned that ‘bad apples’ ‘will be moved’

The warning came after Taylor Auerbach, a former senior producer of Seven’s show Spotlight, claimed in court documents that he was Lehrmann’s “babysitter” to secure the interview and the pair used drugs and partied with sex workers, with Seven the took on a $10,000 bill.

“Our business exists in a world of fierce competition,” Mr. Howard continued.

‘Are we the only ones paying for content? Absolutely not. Should we be honest about that? Absolute. We all want to win. Do we accept a ‘win at all costs’ attitude? No, we don’t.

‘A very small percentage of our people may think that they do not have to operate within the parameters or expectations of what is considered appropriate in SWM.

‘If poor judgment or unacceptable behavior persists, or is outside our comfort zone, we will investigate.

‘If necessary, we will have to move people.

‘The best organizations will do this without fear of retaliation from competitors. Our great people do not deserve to be tarred with the same brush as a small number of bad apples.”

The Seven Network has seen its share price fall 22 percent in the past twelve months

The Seven Network has seen its share price fall 22 percent in the past twelve months

Mr Warburton was CEO at Seven West Media for four years and had recently driven the company’s acquisition of long-term streaming rights for AFL and cricket TV.

He announced in December that he would resign from his top position.

Last week, Spotlight executive producer Mark Llewellyn also left Seven following Mr Auerbach’s claims about the lengths he went to get Lehrmann to break his media silence over his alleged rape of Brittany Higgins last year.

A secret recording made of Mr. Llewellyn during a meeting with Spotlight staffers spoke of the pressure to do “whatever it takes to get the story.”

Seven is also facing legal action after its Sunrise program last Sunday wrongly named Mr Cohen as the Bondi Junction attacker.

Seven issued an on-air apology to Mr Cohen on Sunday, read out by reporter Sarah Jane Bell at a cross.

It has since emerged that Mr Cohen has retained two of Australia’s top defamation lawyers: Patrick George of Giles George as his lawyer, and Sue Chrysanthou SC as his lawyer to seek damages.

Taylor Auerbach, a former senior producer at Spotlight and Bruce Lehrmann's

Taylor Auerbach, a former senior producer at Spotlight and Bruce Lehrmann’s “babysitter,” alleged in documents tendered to the court that the couple took drugs and partied with sex workers, with a further $10,000 transferred back to Seven.

Last week, Nine reported that Seven had ordered two separate investigations into claims that a small number of staff at top-rated breakfast show Sunrise had engaged in fraud.

Seven West’s central business is television, but it also owns The West Australian newspaper and recently launched a new online national news publication called The Nightly.

The company’s share price has fallen more than 22 percent in a year, leading to rumors that owner Kerry Stokes is preparing to sell it.