Movings/Shakings: 14 February

Digital switchover

Senior telco figure Jason Foden has been appointed TVNZ’s new general manager of Ondemand, charged with leading the expansion of the video on demand service as it plans a range of new features and content in the months ahead. He replaces ex-general manager of digital media Tom Cotter, who recently left to set-up new his start-up BuzzDial

Foden has held senior roles at Telecom, most recently as head of voice, messaging and media, and will lead the business growth and commercial performance of TVNZ’s key digital media entertainment assets tvnz.co.nz and TVNZ Ondemand, which has enjoyed record stream growth in the past six months and is up over 90 percent on the previous year.

“The continuing growth and success of TVNZ Ondemand is a key part of our future and we are delighted to have someone of Jason’s calibre spearheading our efforts in this area,” says TVNZ head of digital media, Thor Bayer. “Jason has a proven track record in delivering business growth and he brings a wealth of strategic and product experience to our team.”

This year TVNZ is rebuilding an innovative new version of the TVNZ Ondemand service, giving expanded content and a richer, more personalised experience across a number of devices, says Bayer.

Up selling

Nicole Jones has been appointed to the newly created role of general manager, national sales for MediaWorks TV.

Jones has been with MediaWorks TV for 13 years, most recently as general sales manager. Her achievements include boosting Four’s revenue by 40 percent across her agency portfolio over the past two years; selling integration solutions for programmes such as The X Factor NZ and The Block NZ, promotional concepts for Telecom, Ford, Kellogg’s and Foodstuffs and in-show integration for Mars and Number One Shoes; and representing MediaWorks TV in leading the pricing strategy for the 2011 Rugby World Cup for sponsorship and airtime packages with the other broadcasters. She also won gold at the Media Awards for Best Sales Proposal for New World’s Cleverbaskets campaign.

“Nicole’s wealth of experience and outstanding selling and relationships skills make her the perfect person to step up and take the reins of our national agency sales team,” says MediaWorks TV director of sales, Liz Fraser. 

“I’m absolutely thrilled to take on a senior management role within MediaWorks’ national sales team,” Jones says. “I believe we’re well positioned to build further on our 2013 successes, continuing to provide the best on-brief solutions for our agencies and advertisers. I’m extremely proud of our people and offering and I’m ready to challenge our television and wider media market competitors. Bring on 2014.”

Prior to MediaWorks TV, she worked at McCann Erickson as media manager, and at Mattingly as media planner/buyer.

Recruitment is underway to fill her vacant position. MediaWorks says a transition period will ensure a smooth handover and continuity for clients.

No more waiting

Promotional and product sampling company, InWaiting, has re-launched as a full service brand experience agency called The In Group. 

Based in Auckland, InWaiting is a boutique agency that specialises in waiting room advertising and product sampling and director Chris Coffey says the name change reflects the company’s rapid expansion.

“In addition to waiting rooms, The In Group now offers marketers access to a wide range of unique locations, such as sports clubs, mum’s playgroups, business lunch rooms and many more,” she says. “This gives marketers the opportunity to introduce their brands to consumers as they go about their everyday lives, and in places they have never been able to reach them before. To make this model work, we have formed close partnerships with almost 6000 businesses and organisations that allow us to run highly engaging product sampling and promotional campaigns in their premises.”

To give clients a wider choice of brand experience tools, The In Group has recently added a brand ambassador division that specialises in supermarket demos and experiential campaigns.

“There are times when one-on-one conversations and experiences using brand ambassadors is the best solution,” she says. “Having been a marketer myself, we have worked hard to ensure our brand ambassadors are trained to engage and sell. We also have a strong logistics team which means the details are never missed and we deliver on time and on budget.”

The agency has designed and implemented many successful campaigns, from hot Healtheries tea sampling in hair salons to free Milo Cereal breakfasts in rugby clubs and Beneful dog food giveaways in dog groomers.

The team works with marketers and agencies representing a wide range of businesses, including Nestle, Colgate Palmolive, AFT Pharmaceuticals and Auckland Transport.

Xero + 1 

Xero has recruited former GM vice chairman and Microsoft senior VP Chris Liddell as independent board chair, replacing Sam Knowles, the chief executive who established Kiwibank and holds several other governance roles.

The appointment is one of several that build out the cloud accounting software provider’s US leadership team, with Bill Veghte made a director and Peter Karpas the US chief executive.

“As you would expect from a fast expanding software company, our strategy is to increase US representation on our board,” says Xero chief executive Rod Drury. “Sam has helped guide us through a period of rapid global expansion to over 600 people operating across four countries. His experience ensured we put in place the right foundations, systems and processes that enabled us to scale, while retaining our nimbleness and culture.”

The company announced the developments in an online video.

Veghte, head of HP’s enterprise group, becomes an independent, non-executive director. Prior to HP, Veghte spent nearly 20 years at Microsoft where he held roles such as corporate vice president for Windows Server, then corporate vice president, North America, before becoming acting senior vice president until May 2010.

Karpas is the former vice president and general manager for small and medium business in North America for PayPal. He was also previously chief marketing and product management officer and senior vice president at Intuit.

“His proven leadership, comprehensive familiarity with the B2B market in North America in both accounting and payments will help our drive for growth in the US, where there are over 29 million small businesses,” Drury says.

The appointments follow a recent capital raise by Xero, which secured further funding from existing US investors Valar Ventures and Matrix Capital Management. The $180 million was used partly to grow its team in the US and partly to stash away to send a signal that it had strong cash on hand.

Pugh through

Alison Pugh will be the new co-host of TV One’s Breakfast, sitting permanently on the couch alongside current host Rawdon Christie. She replaces Toni Street, who moved to Seven Sharp. 

“We are very pleased to have secured Ali as our new Breakfast co-host,” says John Gillespie, TVNZ’s head of news and current affairs. “She is a big asset to the news team as a reporter, and now has proved she has what it takes to front the show. Viewers have told us they enjoy watching Ali in the role and I know they’ll enjoy seeing her continue alongside Rawdon every morning.”

Pugh first joined TVNZ in early 2009, starting on the assignments desk before moving to the Breakfast team in September of that year as a reporter/producer, a role that saw her reporting live while leaping off the Sky Tower, surfing and driving a tractor. In 2011 she became a One News reporter based in her hometown of Christchurch, where she covered a wide range of stories, including the on-going plight of the Pike River mine families.

“It’s been wonderful to be back with the Breakfast team, it’s one of the best jobs in the business and has been a fantastic two weeks. I’ve always been really passionate about the Breakfast show and am looking forward to an exciting year ahead.”

Building blocks

L-R: Stefan Coory, Helen Naulls, Nigel Mortimer, Josephine Mackenzie.

Building on a successful career in production, Helen Naulls has jumped the fence to take up the senior post producer role at Blockhead.

No stranger to creatives and producers alike, she’s well known locally having worked at Silverscreen, Robber’s Dog and most recently Ruskin.

“Helen’s brilliant and very technically minded, which means her transition from live action to post is an obvious one,” says Josephine Mackenzie, executive producer at Blockhead. “She and Blockhead go back a long way and she’s the perfect fit for us.”

Says Naulls: “It’s a fantastic job for me. A great brand, wonderful guys and an exciting challenge.”

Two up

PR Partners has appointed Stephanie Crush and Magdalen Ford to the positions of account manager and account executive respectively. 

With over four years’ experience as a communications practitioner, Crush brings strong corporate knowledge across consumer, technology and business-to-business relations. She has worked with a number of international public relations agencies including Edelman, Spark Communications and Waggener Edstrom, in London.

Ford joined the agency in October 2013 as an intern and has since secured her place as a permanent member of the team. She is involved in daily account management and the successful execution of PR campaigns across consumer technology, health, FMCG, and not-for-profit sectors.

Ford graduated from the University of Otago in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and public relations, with a marketing management minor. 

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