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APN pinches News Ltd's Miller for new CEO

Monday 6th May 2013

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APN News & Media, whose stable of publications includes the New Zealand Herald newspaper, has appointed News Ltd's Michael Miller as its new chief executive, effective from mid-June.

Miller, who has been with Rupert Murdoch-controlled News Ltd since 1997, is currently its regional director for New South Wales, and has experience in New Zealand, sitting on the board of pay-TV operator Sky Network Television for a decade until News sold its stake this year.

"We are currently focused on re-engineering our publishing operations in both Australia and New Zealand, expanding our digital business to interact more closely with the publishing operations, as well as creating new products, and Michael is the right person to lead this process," chairman Peter Cosgrove said in a statement.

The appointment ends a rapid shakeup at the media group where the majority of the board and previous CEO Brett Chenoweth were squeezed out by major shareholders Independent News & Media and Allan Gray Australia over a proposed capital raising.

Last week APN told shareholders the bulk of its target savings this year will come from its New Zealand business, where major restructuring had been completed in outsourcing of editorial and advertising production, the centralisation of advertising sales and editorial content, and the sale on non-core titles.

Incoming CEO Miller said progress had already been made with its radio and outdoor advertising joint ventures, and name-checked the NZ Herald and Australian stable of regional newspapers as open for alignment with "APN's digital assets, and develop new integrated opportunities was too good to pass up."

Miller will receive a base salary of A$1.2 million, with short and long-term incentives.

Last month, APN said it doesn't plan to make any significant digital investments this year, making the unit's head, and former Telecom NZ executive Matt Crocket, redundant, and replacing regional media manager Warren Bright with group operations and procurement director Neil Monaghan.

The dual-listed stock was unchanged at 45 cents on the NZX, with its ASX-listed shares yet to trade at 37 Australian cents.

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