Business and media veteran Joan Withers joined a Sky's board in the latest in a series of executive and management arrivals and departures.

Withers has a lot of media experience - albeit some of it with organisations that peaked in the 1990s or 2000s, and have struggled with new media trends.

She is a former chief executive of Fairfax NZ (now trading as Stuff and on the block) and The Radio Network in the 2000s and a long-serving chair of the embattled TVNZ, where she headed the board between 2009 and 2017.

She is currently chair of Mercury (where she is stepping down on September 27), chair of The Warehouse Group and a director of ANZ Bank New Zealand.

Advertisement

Other recent boardroom changes at Sky have seen the surprise resignation of former CEO John Fellet as a director, with his place on the board taken by new chief executive Martin Stewart, and the previously-flagged resignation of the long-serving Peter Macourt as chairman. Macourt, who still sits on the board, was replaced as chair by former Sky TV UK director Philip Bowman, who now lives in Auckland.

Sky's board is now Bowman, Macourt, Stewart, Steel and Tube chair and Les Mills director Susan Paterson, ex-SAP executive Geraldine McBride, tech entrepreneur and one-time government CTO candidate Derek Handley, former Sky TV UK executive Mike Darcy and Withers.

On the management side, Tex Teixeira, who was put in charge of Sky Sport in the New Year, was recently given control of entertainment content as well.

READ MORE:
Spark Sport close to a clean sheet - but hit by Man U snag
Sky TV's king-hit bid to keep rugby as competition with Spark heats up

Sweeping changes since Stewart took the reins have seen long-serving sports director Richard Last, chief financial officer Jason Hollingworth, chief technology officer Julian Wheeler and strategy head George MacFarlane all leave the building.

The new crew brought in by Stewart includes Justin Tomlinson (ex-software development company Propellerhead) as a strategic advisor, working on apps and streaming, and McKinsey & Co alumnus Blair Woodbury, who was recently named CFO.

Stewart recently said Sky had written off $38m as it cancelled a next-generation decoder planned by the previous regime. The new boss has put more money into streaming, expanded the number of Sky Sport channels and relaunched the Fanpass app as Sky Sport Now and declared a new determination to keep sports rights - even if it means the short-term pain of taking on up to $200m in new debt and cancelling the dividend.

Pundits say Stewart is making the right moves, but so far investors are unconvinced. Shares closed yesterday at $1.14, close to their all-time low.

Advertisement