His second stint at the company will wrap up by the conclusion of the current financial year, in June 2024, SWM announced this morning.
Warburton has been a major figure in both media and motorsport over the years, working for multiple players in both of those industries.
He spent four-and-a-half years as Supercars CEO and would later reappear in motorsport as a shareholder and non-executive director at the Australian Racing Group, a position from which he resigned from earlier this year.
Having rejoined Seven in 2019, as its CEO, it was Warburton who was in charge of the network when it signed the deal to bring the Australian Touring Car Championship (Supercars) back to its long-time home.
This time around, however, Seven simulcasts six events with the senior rights holder, Fox Sports, in what is essentially the same agreement which Network 10 had with Supercars from 2015 to 2020.
That groundbreaking television deal, which put some races behind a paywall for the first time, was orchestrated by Warburton during his time in charge of Supercars.
While such an arrangement remains controversial among fans to this day, it was arguably critical in keeping teams afloat after a period of leadership turmoil in the category and a hastily thrown-together television deal for 2013 and 2014, which starved competitors of revenue.
Warburton also signed Virgin Australia as the championship's first naming rights sponsor in more than a decade, in 2016, and his exit was generally met with disappointment within the Supercars paddock.
Although he was sacked by Network 10 in 2013, just before he landed at Supercars and after barely more than a year as CEO of the Pyrmont-based television company, he has received acclaim for the turnaround he has performed at SWM as its boss.
He has managed to bring down the company's heavy debt burden, overseen ratings leadership, acquired regional affiliate Prime Television, and was hailed in recent times for a canny deal with Cricket Australia which saw Seven gain enhanced content yet pay less while Fox Sports had to stump up more for its rights.
SWM announced today that Warburton “has advised his intention to step down from the role at the end of FY24,” after which he will be succeeded by its current Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Howard.
Warburton, who attended last month's Vailo Adelaide 500, said via that announcement, “It has been an incredible journey at SWM and with an exceptionally talented team in place, the time is right for the company to take the next step.
“I take great pride in the transformation of SWM in recent years and its position as the leader in total TV in both ratings and revenue.
“A significant improvement in the balance sheet and digital earnings, underpinned by long-term AFL and cricket TV and streaming rights, and the acquisition of Prime have given the company a very strong future.”
SWM Chairman Kerry Stokes said, “On behalf of the Board and our people, I would like to thank James for his energy, enthusiasm and outstanding contribution.
“James came to SWM at a difficult time and has been immensely successful in reinvigorating Seven's ratings, strengthening the balance sheet and setting Seven up for future success.”
Since Warburton's tenure, Supercars has been led by Sean Seamer and now by Shane Howard.