KENNEDY, TREVOR (1942– )
Trevor Kennedy began in journalism as a business reporter on the Australian Financial Review with stints as London correspondent and as the deputy to Canberra bureau chief Max Walsh. When John Fairfax & Sons launched the National Times in 1972, Kennedy was appointed its first editor at the age of 28. Sir Frank Packer hired him the following year to rejuvenate the Bulletin as its managing editor, beginning an 18-year association with the Packer family’s Australian Consolidated Press (ACP) and with Kerry Packer, who took over after his father’s death in 1974.
As editor-in-chief from 1981 to 1986 and then as CEO, Kennedy was Packer’s principal adviser. He once told Nine Network editor Gerald Stone that managing ACP was like ‘running two businesses’—one of which produced magazines and television programs while the other serviced Kerry’s every whim. But in 1991 Kennedy and Packer fell out over the doomed bid to purchase a stake in Fairfax newspapers in league with the Canadian press baron, Conrad Black. Under the bid, Kennedy was designated as the prospective chief of John Fairfax Holdings but resigned from the consortium, revealing the extent of the tensions within the Tourang consortium.
Packer had benefited from Kennedy’s close associations with the powerful NSW right faction of the Labor Party. But Kennedy was also close to the future Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull, with whom he successfully invested in the internet company, OzEmail.
Kennedy was a director of Reg Grundy’s media business, RG Capital Radio, until he resigned from that board—and six others— during a 2003 investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission into the printing business, Offset Alpine. Kennedy’s home was raided following revelations by the Sydney stockbroker Rene Rivkin that he and Kennedy, and former Labor senator Graham Richardson, held secret shares in Offset Alpine. Both Kennedy and Richardson denied this. After seven years, the ASIC probe was closed and no charges were laid.
REF: Australian, 29 May 2010.