Television titan David Leckie dies aged 70

·2-min read

Legendary former Australian television executive David Leckie has died, aged 70, at his home in the NSW Southern Highlands.

His wife Skye and sons Harry and Ben made the announcement in a family statement on Tuesday.

"With immense sadness we advise the passing of our adored and much loved husband and father, David Leckie," they said.

"David passed away at Mulberry Farm, Robertson, after a long illness this morning. He was surrounded by his loving family."

Leckie was CEO of Seven until 2010, then Seven West Media until 2012, before becoming an adviser and leaving the company in 2016.

Before Seven, he led the Nine Network from 1990 to 2001.

Nine CEO Mike Sneesby said Leckie had set a "culture of excellence" for the company.

"David Leckie was a giant of television," he said in a statement.

"He contributed enormously to the success we all shared with him here at Nine, his instincts and leadership heralded the golden era of Australian television."

Seven West Media Chairman Kerry Stokes said he had a close friendship with Leckie for more than two decades and "finally enticed him" to Seven in 2003.

"David achieved the turnaround quickly and effectively, building a winning team, financial and programming model, which delivered us leadership of the TV industry for many years," Mr Stokes said in a statement.

"He had a magnificent grasp of television and what people wanted to enjoy, whether it be news and current affairs or light entertainment programming, and he achieved success in every aspect of his leadership of Seven."

Tributes for the media personality flowed online.

Nine's retired political journalist Laurie Oakes tweeted that Leckie was a "terrific CEO".

"Backed me when there was pressure, even from [media tycoon] Kerry Packer," he wrote.

Nine News chief newsreader Peter Overton tweeted that Leckie had given him "enormous opportunities" at the station.

"He had a mighty personality and an extraordinary feel for TV," Overton wrote.

Television presenter Sonia Kruger tweeted: "Big, bold, brash and brilliant ... I had the pleasure and privilege of working with the legendary David Leckie and loved every minute."

Columnist Peter FitzSimons described the "legendary" television executive as an "unreconstructed, unvarnished man".

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