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    • Nine Entertainment Co boss Hugh Marks announced his resignation on Saturday
    • Staff were advised by the CEO he had decided to leave the company in an email 
    • The resignation comes after details of Mr Marks’ personal life were published 
    • On Saturday he was forced to admit to having a relationship with former staffer
    • Reports are now circulating the pair are openly discussing plans to have a baby 

    Hugh Marks, 54, and his ex-employee girlfriend, 38, are now ‘openly discussing’ plans to have a baby just one day after he abruptly quit as the Nine Network’s CEO.

    On Saturday, Mr Marks confessed his relationship to Nine News-owned paper the Sydney Morning Herald, to get ahead of a media storm from a column about his relationship coming out the following day.

    Hours after revealing the relationship with Nine’s former managing director of commercial Alexi Baker, he suddenly quit with an email to Nine staff.

    On Saturday, Sydney Morning Herald published an article which claimed the CEO is in a relationship with Nine’s former managing director of commercial Alexi Baker

    Mr Marks said he decided a year ago that he would leave Nine when he reached his five-year anniversary in the top job, but hadn’t decided exactly when.

    ‘When it became clear this relationship was going to become a subject of ridiculous gossip and so much pressure was going to come on the people in the business I just said to myself the right thing to do at this point is to take that pressure off the business and its people,’ he told the SMH on Sunday night. 

    ‘Was someone out to get me? I don’t know, I don’t really care. This [resignation] was a decision already in my head – not ideal that I had to pull it yesterday.’

    Mr Marks said the pair’s relationship started recently as they worked closer together, and she resigned in late September so they could ‘progress’ as a couple. 

    He insisted the romance was above board, despite Ms Baker reporting directly to him, and Nine confirmed it was notified and no governance rules were breached.

    On Sunday, Nine sources claimed to The Daily Telegraph that the couple are ‘openly discussing baby plans’.

    The column, which delved deep into the pair’s history at the media giant, is believed to be what prompted Mr Marks to confess his relationship to the SMH the day before. 

    Mr Marks said he was bewildered why ‘anyone is actually interested in my personal life’, but that he was ‘getting into a good place personally’.

    ‘Everyone wants to be happy. People think you should be superhuman in these roles, but you are still just a person,’ he said.

    Alexi Baker (pictured) was spotted in Sydney's King Cross on Saturday afternoon, at the exact same time Mr Marks had informed the company of his resignation

    Alexi Baker (pictured) was spotted in Sydney’s King Cross on Saturday afternoon, at the exact same time Mr Marks had informed the company of his resignation

    Nine CEO Hugh Marks (pictured) has announced his shock resignation in an email to staff on Saturday

    Nine CEO Hugh Marks (pictured) has announced his shock resignation in an email to staff on Saturday

    Mr Marks confirmed his split from his wife of two decades, and mother of his four children, Gayle Marks last November. 

    ‘This is a private family matter and a painful time for us all. Please respect our privacy and in particular that of our children,’ Mr Marks told News Corp at the time, buying him time to tell their children about the break up.   

    Ms Baker is separated from her husband Andrew McLennan, a director of Goldman Sachs.

    Mr Marks promoted her twice during her stint at Nine, from director of strategy and corporate development in 2016 and in February to managing director commercial. 

    In 2016/17, Ms Baker and 15 other executives were nominated by Mr Marks for a $20,000 US ‘Stanford-style university’ management training program. 

    Ms Baker rose through the ranks as number of other executives were forced out, including Paul Koppleman, former finance director Simon Kelly and chief digital officer Alex Parsons.

    In a leaked internal memo, Mr Marks described her newest promotion as one where she would ‘work closely with me as we focus on setting new operating benchmarks’.

    Ms Baker announced her departure on October 1.  

    ‘I just wanted to let you know that after much thought over the last while, I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on from Nine,’ she said in an email to colleagues.

    ‘I have so enjoyed my time at Nine and don’t do it lightly. But with the big deals done and the business in such a great position, I think it’s time for me to explore what is next in my career.’

    Mr Marks also shot down reports that he was in a relationship with his executive assistant, Jane Routledge, and it is not suggested otherwise.

    ‘There’s a lot of gossip and a lot of that gossip is out of control… and that sort of shocks me a bit that anyone is interested and that people can make s**t up,’ he told the SMH on Saturday.

    He expanded on this denial on Sunday, saying the pair were ‘just mates’ since they started at Nine 25 years ago. 

    The CEO is rumoured to be in a relationship with Nine's former managing director of commercial Alexi Baker (pictured)

    The CEO is rumoured to be in a relationship with Nine’s former managing director of commercial Alexi Baker (pictured)

    Ms Baker was spotted in Sydney’s Kings Cross, at the same moment Mr Marks had informed the company of his resignation.

    The stunning brunette was quizzed about their relationship but she refused to comment, remaining tight-lipped as she made her way to her car. 

    She was seen walking down Darlinghurst Road after buying produce at a market. 

    Ms Baker kept it casual, wearing a green tank top and white shorts, paired with white sneakers and circular sunglasses. 

    The former executive remained stoic as she was asked if she was the reason the Nine CEO stepped down from the job. 

    Ms Baker avoided the camera, and did not make any comment as she made her way to her car.  

    In his email, Mr Marks did not detail why he was parting ways with the media organisation, which owns Channel Nine and former Fairfax Newspapers – Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, but said a formal process to hire his replacement would begin shortly.

    ‘After five successful years for Nine, I have decided the time is right for me begin the process of moving on,’ he said in the email.

    ‘I want to take this opportunity to tell you what a privilege it has been leading this business over a truly transformational period for both the media market generally, and particularly our business.’ 

    When she was quizzed about the relationship, Ms Baker refused to comment and remained tight lipped when she made her way to the car

    Ms Baker pictured in Kings Cross on Saturday

    When she was quizzed about the relationship, Ms Baker refused to comment and remained tight lipped when she made her way to the car

    Mr Marks was called into a hastily convened online meeting with Nine’s board and chairman Peter Costello on Saturday to address the relationship.  

    It is understood his relationship with the board became strained after rumours began that he was dating Ms Baker, and was grilled about his personal relationship with her.

    Mr Marks has agreed to walk away after a six-month transition but will not have to give up any bonuses, seeing him walk away with a total of $5,037,500.

    Bonuses include a fixed salary of $1,550,000 and bonuses worth $3,487,500. 

    The pair reportedly began dating while working together, with Ms Baker required to report to the chief executive as part of her job.   

    Hugh Marks was snapped relaxing in a park with executive assistant Jane Routledge in May 2020

    Hugh Marks was snapped relaxing in a park with executive assistant Jane Routledge in May 2020

    Marks did not want to comment further on the story published in May. Pictured: Mr Marks and Jane Routledge in May 2020

    Marks did not want to comment further on the story published in May. Pictured: Mr Marks and Jane Routledge in May 2020 

    Mr Marks on Saturday said the relationship was ‘in its early days’ and was due to being lonely because of isolation as a result of Covid-19.

    ‘Coming out of Covid, the business started to improve, people were coming back into the office. I guess I just started to think about what might be the next stage for me personally on many fronts,’ he said. 

    ‘Everyone wants to be happy. People think you should be superhuman in these roles but you are still just a person.’  

    Mr Marks split with his lawyer wife, Gayle, a year ago. The couple have four children together.  

    He said it was a ‘difficult period’ ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought business challenges. 

    Ms Baker started working at Nine in 2011 and stepped down from her role last month.

    WHO IS ALEXI BAKER?

    Alexi Baker studied a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Finance, between 2001 and 2005 at the University of NSW. 

    Before joining Nine, Ms Baker had worked as an analyst at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse. 

    She joined Nine in 2011 as a strategy manager.

    In 2016, Ms Baker was appointed director of strategy and corporate development – a role she retained following the $4 billion merger of Fairfax and Nine.

    She played important roles in the merger with Fairfax Media in July 2018, the broadcaster’s decision to switch from cricket to tennis rights in March the same year and the acquisition of the remaining stake in Macquarie Radio that Nine did not own.

    Ms Baker also played a part in the growth of  subscription video on-demand service Stan. 

    She then became commercial director in February this year.

    She announced her resignation in October, stating she was looking to ‘take on a new challenge’. 

    ‘I just wanted to let you know that after much thought over the last while, I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on from Nine,’ she said in an email to her management colleagues.

    ‘I have so enjoyed my time at Nine and don’t do it lightly. But with the big deals done and the business in such a great position, I think it’s time for me to explore what is next in my career.’    

    ‘I have absolutely loved working with this group of people. And especially the opportunity to work beside such incredibly creative people making content.’

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    She played important roles in the merger with Fairfax Media in July 2018, the broadcaster’s decision to switch from cricket to tennis rights in March the same year and the acquisition of the remaining stake in Macquarie Radio that Nine did not own.

    She also played a part in the growth of  subscription video on-demand service Stan. 

    Last month Ms Baker decided to leave the company, stating she was ‘taking on a new challenge’. 

    ‘I just wanted to let you know that after much thought over the last while, I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on from Nine,’ she said in an email to her management colleagues.

    ‘I have so enjoyed my time at Nine and don’t do it lightly. But with the big deals done and the business in such a great position, I think it’s time for me to explore what is next in my career.’    

    ‘I have absolutely loved working with this group of people. And especially the opportunity to work beside such incredibly creative people making content.’

    At the time of her resignation, Mr Marks said: ‘The whole management team at Nine wish Alexi well and thank her for the enormous contribution she has made to the transformation of Nine.’

    ‘Alexi will be missed by us all but we understand her desire to seek new opportunities and wish her well for the future.’ 

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