Former NZX chief Mark Weldon will take over from Sussan Turner as Group Chief Executive at MediaWorks.The MediaWorks appointment follows the example of TVNZ in appointing someone from outside the industry to the top job, although there’s little argument that Weldon knows how to grow a business.
Weldon was previously CEO of the New Zealand Stock Exchange, and led the NZX through its formative years. He chaired John Key’s Job Summit in 2009, served on the boards of High Performance Sport New Zealand as well as on the Board of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, and led the fundraising for the PM’s Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, raising over $100 million.
It’s little wonder MediaWorks Chair Rod McGeoch says the Board is delighted to have attracted someone of Welson’s calibre or, in plain English, can make money from a catastrophe.
“Mark brings his tremendous talents as both leader and innovator and he has an enormous passion for New Zealand Inc. Obviously candidates of Mark’s calibre are rare on the ground and to be able to secure Mark for the role is a huge coup for MediaWorks.”
Clearly a glass half-full kind of guy, McGeoch claimed, “The future of the television and radio markets continues to look bright.”
The bit that’s half full is radio. FTA TV in general, not just MediaWorks, has been struggling since the bottom dropped out of the ad market in 2009. Despite its journey into and out of receivership to convert some $600 million of debt into equity, MediaWorks still emerged with over $100 million of debt.
McGeoch said, “The future of MediaWorks is in our people and our content,” which will be good news for a number of staff who’ve been living with uncertainty for quite some time now.
“If we produce and acquire great content, and combine this with stellar talent, we will continuously innovate and adapt to find ways to get content into the hands of consumers, and therefore create compelling solutions that build our advertisers’ businesses.”
Weldon said he was up for the challenge, and also paid tribute to departing head Sussan Turner.
“I have a deep interest in content, technology, and all things New Zealand, and I feel fully energized by the opportunity. MediaWorks owns an incredibly exciting set of businesses, with some great talent, and a strong position in a rapidly evolving environment where new competitors are continuing to emerge. For me the role offers the chance to be a key shaper of its future. I’m very excited to be a part of that, and work with the team to develop a strategy to lead the change and for MediaWorks to achieve its potential.”
Weldon starts at MediaWorks on Monday 11 August. Sussan Turner departs on Friday 15.