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Seven West CEO's 'shame' over affair

AAP logoAAP 19/12/2016 Peter Trute

Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner says he is "filled with the deepest shame and regret" over an affair with a former network executive assistant who is now engaged in a legal dispute with the broadcaster.

Mr Worner apologised for his affair with Amber Harrison - which took place before he became CEO - as Seven West attacked what it called "wide-ranging inaccuracies and false statements" made by Ms Harrison about her treatment.

A statement from Seven West late on Monday revealed the broadcaster made a confidential settlement with Ms Harrison, a former executive assistant to the company's magazines boss, more than two years ago, with payments made to her as part of the terms.

The company indicated it could withhold payments as a result of widespread media reports that made the matter public on Monday.

Seven Wests's board held an emergency meeting on Monday after reports carrying allegations made by Ms Harrison about her treatment by the network appeared in Fairfax and News Corp publications.

In the reports, Ms Harrison, who was 35 when the affair began in 2012, said she became distressed by the workplace relationship and sought unsuccessfully to end it.

Ms Harrison alleged she was subsequently confronted with accusations of abusing her corporate credit card.

Ms Harrison's employment reportedly ended in 2014.

Mr Worner, in a statement, said he was trying to repair the damage caused by his affair and minimise distress to his family.

"This relationship finished some years ago and I apologised at the time, and am still trying to make amends," he said.

"I am obviously filled with the deepest regret and shame.

"My focus is to continue to work through this in private and minimise the distress to my family."

Seven West said it rejected Ms Harrison's allegations that inquiries into her credit card use were "vindictive" and said concerns about the account were raised before the management and board knew of the relationship.

The network revealed the confidential agreement with Ms Harrison included payments, to be made in instalments, in recognition of her "fragile emotional stability" and to "enable her to move on with her life".

There were conditions of confidentiality and "mutual non-disparagement" on the settlement and Seven said it is "entitled to withhold payment for non-compliance" with the terms of the deed.

Ms Harrison has reportedly recently changed lawyers to continue negotiations over the terms of her settlement.

The company said Mr Worner would remain as chief executive, after the reports sparked an eight per cent drop in Seven West's share price on Monday.

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