It took a while, but Kevin Kenrick, a well-known New Zealand business figure who has held a number of leadership roles with Lion Nathan, Telecom New Zealand, and most recently, House of Travel, has been named as the new chief executive of TVNZ and will take up the position in the middle of May.
Board chairman Sir John Anderson said the appointment completed a substantial search that attracted an extremely talented group of applicants.
"The strong interest in this position by quality candidates reflects the high regard in which Television New Zealand is held,” he says.
Rodney Parker has filled the role of acting chief executive since January after Rick Ellis departed to take up the role of group managing director – digital media with Telstra in Australia. And the patriots out there will be pleased to see the apparent penchant for Aussies (most recently soon-to-start head of news and current affairs Ross Dagan, who took over from Anthony Flannery) has been avoided with the appointment of a Kiwi.
Kenrick was chief executive of the House of Travel from 2008 to 2011 and prior to that he held a number of roles with Telecom from 1999 till 2007, including sales and marketing manager for Xtra, general manager marketing, general manager mobile and chief operating officer for the mass market retail business division.
In a release, he describes himself as a "proud Kiwi who has a passion for people, customers and making the most of current and future technologies to enhance the services available to all New Zealanders".
“As New Zealand’s leading television and digital media company, TVNZ is in a great position," he says. "I’m excited about building on these strong foundations and taking advantage of the new opportunities, like ultra fast broadband, to deliver richer media services to more New Zealanders.
“The future of TVNZ is all about continuing to deliver the news, information, and the great entertainment that Kiwis want to see, all while expanding how this is delivered to every screen, where and when people want to see it. It is a great privilege to lead one of New Zealand's most recognisable companies at such a dynamic time for the media industry and with so many fantastic opportunities ahead of us, I can't wait to get started."
It's certainly an interesting time for TVNZ. A number of big names have departed recently (director of sales and marketing Paul Maher is, perhaps not coincidentally, off to MediaWorks and Anderson is set to depart this month) and with the looming switch-off of TVNZ7, the looming switch-on of Igloo and the ever-present threat of the internet for content delivery, he'll certainly have his work cut out for him.
Despite the many challenges, however, TVNZ still managed to make a $19 million profit for the first half of the year, so while the digital evangelists would like to think TV is dead, there's plenty of life in the old dogs yet.