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NZME CFO Michael Moran resigns for 'personal reasons'

NZME CFO Michael Moran resigns for 'personal reasons'

By Paul McBeth

March 16 (BusinessDesk) - NZME chief financial officer Michael Moran has resigned from the newspaper publisher and radio station operator for "personal reasons" after a year in the role.

Moran joined the Auckland-based company in June 2016 as interim CFO before being permanently appointed in January last year, taking on responsibility for NZME's financial and technology operations. Prior to that, he'd been a partner at accounting firm Deloitte. NZME has started looking for a replacement, but chief strategy officer Sarah Judkins will act as CFO in the interim. Investor relations manager Paddy Walker couldn't immediately say when Moran's departure was effective.

"Mike has played a critical role in transforming the way the business operates, extracting synergies from business integration and driving various elements of the growth strategy, including progressing the proposed merger with Fairfax NZ," chief executive Michael Boggs said in a statement.

NZME's proposed merger with rival Stuff, the local subsidiary of ASX-listed Fairfax Media Group, was blocked by the Commerce Commission over fears it would give the merged entity too much influence to the detriment of the wider public and offsetting tangible economic gains to be had. The High Court upheld that decision, and while both media companies are taking that ruling to the Court of Appeal, the terms of the tie-up will be renegotiated if successful.

Last November, First NZ Capital analyst Arie Dekker wrote in a note to clients that NZME shouldn't pay Fairfax $55 million if the appellate courts cleared the way for the merger, saying the Stuff portfolio's lack of diversity was more challenging than NZME's, which includes radio assets.

Stuff has already embarked on scaling back its domestic newspaper operations, yesterday announcing it will close four community papers and one magazine. Another 23 publications it plans to exit have attracted interest from potential buyers.

Meantime, NZME has signalled plans to introduce subscription-access for premium content on its website this year. Former owner APN News & Media toyed with introducing a paywall for the flagship New Zealand Herald website in 2015 but later backed away from the plan.

NZME shares last traded at 82 cents and have dropped 6.8 percent so far this year.

(BusinessDesk)

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