Sky TV's longtime director of sport Richard Last is out the door.

A person close to events says new chief executive Martin Stewart is behind Last's departure.

The broadcaster has made no public announcement, but a spokeswoman told the Herald: "After discussion between new CEO Martin Stewart and Richard they have mutually decided Richard would like to pursue other career and personal options for the future."

Tex Teixeira, the current director of broadcasting media, will also become acting director of sport. An insider calls Teixeira a "bridge builder who will be able to heal broken relationships. Sky should never have missed out on the World Cup and Martin Stewart knows this."


The spokeswoman refused comment on industry rumours that other executives will follow Last out of the building.

New CEO Stewart has been on the front-foot since he took the reins last Thursday, the insider says, firing a barrage of emails at staff with ALL CAPs as his preferred medium.

The NZ Shareholders Association earlier raised concerns about John Fellet staying on as a director after Stewart succeeded him as CEO. The investor group saw Fellet looking over the newcomer's shoulder, and crimping his style.

However, the exit of Last, who was close to Fellet, indicates that Stewart is making his mark regardless.

The UK-born Stewart beat all-comers - including at least one inhouse candidate - in the race to replace Fellet.

He moved to Sky from his role as chief executive of OSN, the leading pay TV network in the Middle East - one that a foe notes has been under pressure from BeIN Sport.

Stewart was previously chief financial officer at BSkyB in the UK between 1998 and 2004.

Sky did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


A period of recent turbulence has seen Sky profit and subscriber numbers under pressure as newcomer Netflix has pressured Sky on the entertainment side, and an insurgent Spark has successfully bid for rights to a number of sports and tournaments, including Formula One, English Premier League football and the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Last earlier said it was important Sky did not over-bid for events, and that the broadcaster's key focus had to be on season-long competitions rather than short tournaments like the World Cup.

The director of sport also pitched Sky's nationwide coverage via satellite as an advantage over Spark's streaming when negotiating with sports bodies.

Sky shares [NZX:SKT] were up 2.03 per cent to $1.51 in mid-afternoon trading. The stock is down 46.83 per cent for the year.

New broom Martin Stewart. Photo / Supplied.
New broom Martin Stewart. Photo / Supplied.