Luke Girgis exits The Brag, six months after $10m Vinyl Group deal

The Brag Media - Luke Girgis CEO

The leadership change follows a “thorough review of The Brag Media.”

Luke Girgis has left The Brag Media as publisher and managing director, six months after he sold the business to Vinyl Group in a $10m deal: $8 million cash, plus a further $2 million in cash or stock based on financial performance.

Vinyl Group announced the leadership change today, which it said followed a “thorough review of The Brag Media.” Jessica Hunter has been promoted to head of The Brag Media, and Lars Brandle promoted to head of content. Poppy Reid remains editor-in-chief.

The review and leadership changes will result in savings of $750,000 over the next year, the business said.

The ASX-listed Vinyl Group rebranded from Jaxsta just weeks before it acquired The Brag. The December acquisition was funded by an $11 million placement and debt facility from Vinyl Group investor Richard White.

Upon selling The Brag – which publishes, The Music Network, and Tone Deaf, and has the license for Rolling Stone and Variety across AUNZ – Girgis moved from CEO to publisher and managing director as a full time employee.

“Right from the earliest discussions we had, it was clear that the board, Josh and the team shared our vision for the future of the business, and I’m thrilled that they’ve made this commitment with us,” he said at the time of the sale.

He received 5 million options upon the completion of the sale, the first tranche of which was due to vest a year after the sale, upon achieving revenue and EBIT targets. The second tranche was to vest on the second anniversary of the sale’s completion.

“Upon acquiring The Brag Media, the Board and I have taken the time to get to know all the incredible talent in the team,” Vinyl Group CEO Josh Simons said today of the leadership changes.

“It became clear that Jessica’s leadership and commercial achievements since joining the business have made her an undeniable force. We believe in Jessica’s ability to steer The Brag Media, unlock its full potential and drive our ambitious growth plans forward.

“I look forward to working closely with Jess and Lars in their new roles. The Brag Media is synonymous with youth culture, and the best is yet to come.”

Hunter joined The Brag last year as general manager of partnerships after a stint leading the agency and brand partnerships team at Woolworths’ Cartology. She has also led the Daily Mail’s commercial team, and worked with Bauer, News Corp, and Nine.

As head of the business, she will lead the day-to-day operations and growth of The Brag Media, and be responsible for strategy and business outcomes.

Brandle was previously senior reporter, and as head of content will lead content strategy and output across Rolling Stone AUNZ, Variety Australia, The Music Network, and Tone Deaf.


“Our business is home to some of the best people in media,” Hunter said.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to lead Australia’s largest creator of premium youth content and events through the next phase of growth. I’m grateful to Josh and the Board for their trust and remain motivated to ensure our portfolio of iconic brands and partnerships reach their full potential, and that our clients receive top-tier support and award-winning campaign solutions that sit at the centre of youth culture.”

Last September, when Hunter was just a few months into her role, she told Mediaweek: “I am proud to have seen our business transform from a music network to Australia’s largest youth publisher, with 10 million monthly visitors. 

“Clients now see what I saw when I joined The Brag Media: a team that is passionate about delivering exceptional campaigns that are both creative and effective in delivering client outcomes.”

A statement accompanying the announcement of the sale revealed unaudited financial year 2023 results of $8.39m in revenues for The Brag Media, with a net profit of $334,824.

The Brag Media exclusively represents local digital audiences for over a dozen other titles including HypeBeast, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Music Feeds, ComingSoon, Rotten Tomatoes, Game Revolution, and IndieWire.

Vinyl Group’s share price has risen by 130% over the past six months, from 5c on 20 December, the day before the sale, to 12c today.

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