APN News & Media, the media group whose stable includes the New Zealand Herald newspaper and nzherald.co.nz, has appointed Greenhill Caliburn founder Peter Hunt as its new chairman.
Hunt, who still chairs the corporate advisory firm, will join the APN board on September 3, and replaces Gavin O'Reilly, whose stepped down in April as part of an exit from Independent News & Media, APN's biggest shareholder.
Hunt previously advised APN on its A$1.3 billion acquisition of Wilson & Horton, the previous publisher of the NZ Herald.
"It is both an exciting and challenging time to be involved in a diverse media company like APN, and I look forward to working with my fellow board members, (chief executive) Brett (Chenoweth) and his senior management team to execute on its strategic goals," Hunt said in a statement.
APN is in the process of reviewing its New Zealand media assets and is assessing the value of intangible assets with a writedown likely.
The media group also owns other newspapers in New Zealand, such as the Bay of Plenty Time, Hawkes Bay Today and the Wairarapa Times-Age, and magazines, including the Listener, the New Zealand Women's Weekly and New Idea, as well as the Radio Network, which claims a little over 48 per cent of New Zealand's radio market.
APN expects to report on August 17. The company already wrote off A$159 million, mostly from the value of its New Zealand metropolitan newspapers, in calendar 2011 for which it reported a A$45.1 million loss.
Chief executive Brett Chenoweth said the appointment was "important" and that the company will "benefit tremendously from his commercial acumen and leadership."
The dual-listed shares were unchanged at 65 cents on the NZX, having shed 32 per cent this year. The stock is rated an average 'hold' based on 10 analysts' recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of 75.5 cents.