New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) has appointed a new Christchurch general manager as part of an expansion of its commercial presence in the South Island.
Ben Harris is currently general manager of the Paul Kelly Motor Company where he has been since 2018, following two years in real estate as an auctioneer and sales consultant.
Harris is also one of the South Island's most experienced media managers and commercial leaders with nearly 18 years' experience as a top-performing media consultant, a general manager and regional manager for MediaWorks.
"Ben is very well known and incredibly highly regarded across the Christchurch and Canterbury business communities. With his vast commercial and media experience Ben's focus on delivering results for clients makes him perfect to join our senior leadership team in the South Island," said NZME chief radio and commercial officer Wendy Palmer.
Current Christchurch GM Matt Bowness is taking on a new role leading NZME's South Island agency team.
The appointment of Harris and Bowness completes the triple sales leadership crown for NZME, with the pair joining general manager - South Island regions Janine Tindall Morice.
"It's been impressive to watch NZME develop and deliver its Christchurch and South Island strategy.
"With powerhouse brands like Newstalk ZB, the New Zealand Herald and OneRoof, NZME's always had a strong presence here. But the growth ambitions the business has to engage South Island audiences with more of its great local content and to support our business communities is on another level. I'm very excited to be a part of it," said Harris.
The creation of a new role of a dedicated general manager of agency for the South Island is the next step in NZME's audience and customer focused growth strategy.
"Matt's done a superb job as our Christchurch general manager and it's through Matt's work that we identified a brilliant opportunity to further support our advertising agency partners with key South Island clients. Matt's already identified a wealth of growth opportunities for our current agency clients and has plenty of exciting new initiatives to take to market as well," said NZME chief revenue officer Paul Hancox.
"With the growth in audiences across nzherald.co.nz, OneRoof and our radio brands like Newstalk ZB, NZME's continually strengthening its ability to deliver premium solutions and results for our clients," Bowness said.
"We have seen some outstanding growth from NZME's agency clients in the last 18 months and this new role and structure will allow us to provide even more support to our clients and partners."
NZME has signalled growth in the South Island as a key strategic focus for the business.
It recently boosted its South Island news operation with an expanded team of Christchurch-based multimedia journalists working across the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB news operations.
"NZME's coverage of this month's devastating floods is a great example of how our teams deliver for local communities.
"The combined live coverage across our radio networks with their local on-air teams complemented the up to the minute updates from our field teams supporting nzherald.co.nz online," said NZME CEO Michael Boggs.
"Our NZME teams once again showed Canterbury communities, that we have them covered."