Embattled Nine boss Hugh Marks and his former colleague-turned girlfriend enjoyed a day at the beach in the couple’s first public outing since their relationship surfaced two months ago.
Marks, 54, wrapped his arm around partner, Alexi Baker, 38, as they strolled back from Camp Cove beach in Sydney’s east on Thursday.
The Nine chief executive sensationally announced in November he would quit the network in November after confessing he was in a relationship with recently-resigned junior executive Ms Baker.
Nine boss, Hugh Marks, and his ex-employee girlfriend Alexi Baker were seen in their first public outing in two months
Marks, 54, wrapped his arm around Ms Baker, 38, as they strolled back from Camp Cove beach in Sydney’s east on Thursday
Mr Marks confessed his relationship to Nine-owned newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald to get ahead of a media storm with a column about his love life due to be published the following day.
The loved-up couple seemed relaxed as they headed back from the beach after enjoying a swim during a hot Sydney day.
Ms Baker wore a long black skirt paired with a black bikini top, while Mr Marks wore shorts and a t-shirt with a towel draped over his shoulder.
The pair chatted and laughed together as Mr Marks lovingly put his arm around Ms Baker’s shoulder.
Mr Marks earlier insisted he decided more than 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 Sydney Morning Herald in November.
‘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 began as they worked closer together, and Ms Baker resigned in October so they could ‘progress’ as a couple.
The loved up couple seemed relaxed as they headed back from the beach after enjoying a swim during a scorching hot Sydney day
Ms Baker wore a long black skirt paired with a black bikini top, while Mr Marks wore shorts and a t-shirt with a towel draped over his shoulder
Marks revealed in November that he and Baker were in a relationship after she earlier resigned in October
He insisted the romance was above board, despite Ms Baker reporting directly to him, and Nine confirmed it was notified of the relationship and no governance rules were breached.
After the news came to light, rumours swirled about the nature of their relationship amid a reckoning over powerful men dating their employees.
But Ms Baker insisted she was ‘not a victim’ and left Nine on her own terms because she wanted a new challenge – and for their romance to flourish.
Ms Baker told The Australian the definitive timeline of when her and Mr Marks’ relationship started is blurry.
‘The reality is, particularly as you get older, spending a lot of time a work, people will meet and form relationships. That’s what happened,’ she said.
Ms Baker said her and Mr Marks grew close through cutting a number of big deals together, such as a merger with Fairfax as well as Macquarie Radio, and replacing cricket coverage for tennis.
Mr Marks said the pair’s relationship began as they worked closer together, and Ms Baker resigned in October so they could ‘progress’ as a couple (pictured in Sydney on Thursday)
Ms Baker earlier insisted she left Nine on her own terms because she wanted a new challenge
Marks will stay on in his role at Nine in the meantime as the company works to find a replacement
The 38-year-old said she was ‘already looking around for the next challenge’ at the time their romance was made public and she parted ways with the company.
‘And it’s not as simple for him to go because he’s got a much broader set of responsibilities, it’s not a quick and easy thing. We wanted to give the relationship some space and time, to see if it would develop. And since I was ready to quit, I quit,’ she said.
Mr Marks confirmed his split from his wife of two decades, and mother of his four children, Gayle Marks in November, 2019.
Ms Baker is separated from her husband Andrew McLennan, a director of Goldman Sachs, and announced her departure from Nine on October 1.
Mr Marks will continue on in his role in the meantime as Nine works to find a replacement.
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.’