Priority One's executive board has announced the appointment of Tauranga-born Nigel Tutt as its new chief executive, after an extensive search that attracted interest from candidates around New Zealand and overseas.

For the past three years, Mr Tutt has been the Auckland-based chief executive of Affinity ID, a marketing technology company with offices in New Zealand and Australia.

He spent many years in the newspaper and publishing industry, including serving as New Zealand supply chain manager for PMP, then moving to Fairfax Newspapers as commercial manager - publishing, before being appointed as general manager to lead Fairfax's digital media arm, where he spent almost four years.

"I was pretty keen to come back to Tauranga," said Mr Tutt, who was born and raised in Mount Maunganui and will take up the role at the end of November.


He is married with a young family.

"I'd seen the success of the Bay of Plenty recently. That was part of what attracted me, because I'm passionate about the area and I've seen it do great things recently with the level of growth. I thought it would be cool to be part of that. It was a good role in a place that I love."

Mr Tutt was the 2011 winner of the Hegarty Award for outstanding young executive from the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishing Association.

Priority One chairman Brett Hewlett said he was excited at the prospect of having someone of Mr Tutt's commercial experience joining the team.

"He will be a great complement to what has proven a very successful team at Priority One, and sets us up nicely to take economic development in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty to a new level," Mr Hewlett said.

Priority One's key focus is on building the sub-region's competitive advantages in the attraction and retention of high-value businesses and a talented work force. Mr Tutt said he had spent much of his recent career in the digital area, including in his current role running Affinity ID, which focused on data-driven marketing.

He added that he hoped his digital skills had helped him win the new role.

"I think it's very important to promote the region well and there's a number of conversations that have to happen with some quite different audiences around that," he said.

Mr Tutt replaces former chief executive Andrew Coker, who stepped down earlier this year after almost a decade in the role.