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APN's Hopkins steps down after eight years

Tuesday 13th July 2010

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APN News & Media chief executive Brendan Hopkins will leave his post in December after having held his job since August 2002.

His resignation comes in the wake of chairman Gavin O'Reilly promising at the annual shareholders' meeting in May to overhaul the board following shareholder unrest and charges of nepotism.

O'Reilly is the chief executive of APN's major shareholder, Dublin-based Independent News & Media (INM) who took over from his father, Tony O'Reilly, in March last year. The O'Reillys control nearly 30% of INM and through it about 32% of APN.

Hopkins was seconded to his current role from INM. While his resignation came as a surprise, it followed INM's failed attempt to privatise APN in 2007, which was blocked by Australian institutional investors, and subsequent failed efforts to sell its stake to reduce INM's debt.

APN chairman Gavin O'Reilly says the board wishes Hopkins well.

"Brendan has led the company with energy and skill over the past eight years and we thank him for his contribution to APN's affairs."

APN has appointed Heidrick & Struggles to search for a suitable successor, including potential internal candidates.

Shares of APN, publisher of the New Zealand Herald, last traded at $2.43 and have declined 21% in the past three months.

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