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Women in Media - Pippa Leary - CEO of APEX

Welcome to MediaScope's profile series where we regularly ask 'Women in Media' about their career, experiences in our industry and their views on the current state of the market. 

This time we feature Pippa Leary, long term digital industry professional - and now CEO of APEX - the newly formed collaboration between Fairfax and Mi9.

Thanks to Pippa for getting involved. MediaScope's Women in Media - Pippa Leary - APEX

Tell us about your industry background?

I began my career as a freelance journalist working for 21*C, The Australian and Not Only Black and White, while lecturing and tutoring at Sydney University and UNSW.

After returning from 2 years living in Los Angeles and learning digital production I started work for Microsoft on their Sidewalk project. Three months later they entered the JV with PBL that was to become ninemsn.  Over 5 years I held various roles including Business Manager of Lifestyle, and Network Services Director running Messenger, Search, Shopping and Hotmail. I then moved to the nascent F2 Network where I started a 10 year stint building their online media businesses.

Before going on maternity leave I was the Managing Director of the Media Division for Fairfax Digital and was responsible for growing revenue and usage of,, Brisbane Times and WAToday. I returned to set the strategic direction for the newly formed Metro Division which combined Fairfax Digital and the print mastheads.

What is your role now with APEX and what do you actually do?

As the CEO of APEX I am a bit of a jack of all trades. There are basically 3 streams involved in getting APEX up and running – a technical/product stream,  a commercial/legal stream and a marketing stream. My role is to work with the publisher teams in these various streams to execute the vision that is APEX. 

APEX (Australian Premium Exchange) is a collaboration between Fairfax & Mi9– please outline your market offer and plans?  

APEX - Australian Premium ExchangeAPEX, is a premium exchange formed by Fairfax Media and Mi9 to create a scaled supply of 100% brand safe mobile inventory that can be traded programmatically.

APEX is the latest example of a global trend of alliances being formed to differentiate quality content in digital media and ensure the ongoing viability of the premium publisher business model. 

What are your views on the general media market – what is the state of the media?

The Australian media, like most media markets is in a state of flux.  The drive towards automated trading and the rise of the open exchanges has further commoditized the inventory of local publishers. In order for premium publishers in particular to continue investing in quality content then they must differentiate their content from the long tail of amateur content currently available in these open exchanges. This is the motivating factor behind the rise of publisher alliances – of which almost 20 have been formed around the globe.  

What market trends should we be keeping an eye on?

The rise of “data driven advertising’ seems unstoppable at the moment. However it would be foolish to believe that data has completely supplanted context in its ability to create engagement between a brand and audience.  

 Skills shortages is a major industry challenge – how is this issue impacting you and can you offer any solutions?

I receive calls weekly from recruiters desperate to find “programmatic talent”.

Fortunately our trading is executed on the AppNexus console so APEX does not require “traders” – however this may not always be the case in which case we will be joining that search. Training of local talent would be an obvious first step in alleviating this situation.

What are your family circumstances and how do you manage your work/life balance?

I am extremely fortunate to work in a JV that allows me a high degree of flexibility. I work three days spread across five enabling me to spend time with my children when required.

What can our industry do right now to better recognise & support women & families?

Allow more flexible working arrangements. Because I work from home my time is concentrated which allows me to complete tasks in half the time I would with the distractions of the office. I also save time by not travelling – all of which I can spend doing productive work.

How do you stay up to date on the media market - what media do you consume?

I read AdExchanger almost everyday – its necessary in order to stay in touch with new technology rolling out of Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley.  I’ll always be addicted to the SMH, and I still use the mi9 sites. I read AdNews and Mumbrella most days – and of course Mediascope!

Thank you!


Women in Media - She SaysSheSays - is a global networking organisation to support women in advertising, media, marketing and creative. It's entirely free and everyone involved is a volunteer. Come and join us at our next event. Find out more here - & join the SheSays Facebook page. 



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