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Executive changes at MediaWorks don’t signal sale

Executive changes at MediaWorks don’t signal sale looms, Harman says

By Jonathan Tringham

Nov 24. (BusinessWire) - MediaWorks NZ Ltd.’s decision to phase out the position of chief executive and have the heads of its radio and television units answer direct to the board is not a signal that the company is being prepared for sale, says chairman Brent Harman.

The owner of broadcasting assets including TV3 and More FM today announced the departure of long-serving chief executive Brent Impey and said his position will be phased out. Instead, radio chief operating officer Sussan Turner was promoted to CEO for radio and the company is on a search to fill the equivalent role for TV.

The new appointments “take the two main functions of the business and bring them into the board, they do not signify any intent to diverge and eventually sell the TV and radio arms of MediaWorks” Harman said. “We are not splitting the company into separate operations; we just didn’t see the need to appoint a third CEO.”

Australian buyout firm Ironbridge paid $741 million to acquire the MediaWorks assets from CanWest MediaWorks NZ Ltd. in May 2007. Canada’s CanWest originally entered the New Zealand media market in 1991, when it bought a small stake in the then privately owned television network TV3.

During the 1990's, CanWest took full ownership of TV3, launched C4, and expanded into radio with the acquisition of the More FM Group and eventually RadioWorks.

A spokesman for Ironbridge wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Impey resigned as CEO after leading the company for nearly ten years. He started as CEO of More FM in 1998, and in 2000 took on his current role as head of MediaWorks. He will stay on in an advisory capacity until early 2011.

Harman, who is a former chief executive of TVNZ and Prime TV Australia, said the company didn’t plan any other executive changes.

“It’s just business as usual,” he said. “It’s reasonable to assume Ironbridge’s intent is to hold the investment.”


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