Movings|Shakings: 29 April

Flicking the outdoor switch

Following the departure of Auckland sales manager, Rae Anderson, Ben Gibb has been appointed to the newly created sales and marketing director role at Adshel. He joins from sister company NZME where he was briefly group general manager of digital sales. Prior to that he held roles at Yahoo, Bauer Media and HB Media. He commences with Adshel on 26 May.

“Adshel has grown rapidly in recent years and as we introduce digital OOH, a critical part of our growth strategy is to ensure we have the right commercial leadership in place,” says Vile. “We are very pleased to be bringing a media executive of Ben’s calibre into our business to help us work with our clients to deliver the increasing opportunities that outdoor offers. Ben’s experience across a wide range of media combined with his strong reputation in market make him a great fit for Adshel.” 

  • Check out the story behind Adshel’s digital roll-out here

NZME says Gibb’s appointment is “another important milestone in integration that has been taking place across APN’s businesses in New Zealand, firstly within NZME and more recently between NZME and Adshel, APN’s joint venture with Clear Channel.” 

“Having conducted a thorough market search, for Adshel to find that the best person for this important role was within the APN corporate family, illustrates the quality of the NZME business and our people,” says NZME group director digital Laura Maxwell-Hansen. “We wish Ben well and look forward to working with him in his new role and further developing the Adshel and NZME relationship.” 

Maxwell-Hansen says an executive search is underway to fill the position vacated by Gibb. 

Simon Paul has also been promoted to group sales manager from his current role as senior account manager.

“He has been with Adshel for three years and in that time has proven his value as an astute sales person, contributing to the growth the business has achieved over that time,” says Vile. “His promotion is a reward for his dedication in achieving our growth profile, and is part of our wider digital OOH rollout, where he’ll play a core role in sales planning.” 

As group sales manager, he will now take on the leadership of the Auckland agency and direct sales team, including Sian Gotts who has been appointed to the newly created sales co-ordinator role. 

Rees darts

Following on from the news that Tim Murphy was leaving the Herald after 30 years with the publication and almost 15 years as editor in chief, NZME is losing another editorial stalwart, with associate editor and head of digital content ​Jeremy Rees taking the newly-established role of national community titles editor at Fairfax. 

Fairfax says his appointment is the first of several new senior editorial positions aimed at enhancing local and national journalism across its newsrooms nationally.  

Sinead Boucher, Fairfax Media’s executive editor, says in a release that he will build and develop its communities approach, focusing on local and hyperlocal strategy.

“The national community titles position is a key editorial role, focused on harnessing the power of our national community newspaper network, and developing our strategy around communities, in print as well as in digital. It carries a strong experimental and innovation brief as we seek to grow this very important and strong part of our business.”

During his time at the NZ Herald, Rees has held several key roles including editor and then publisher of the nzherald.co.nz, editor of the Weekend Herald and head of news. He has led his team to several Canon awards, including best website and digital innovation, and under his editorship, the Weekend Herald was awarded best weekly newspaper.

His arrival follows a number of big hires over the past few years. Last month, Fairfax announced some more changes to the structure of its newsroom, with a big focus on becoming a digital first media company. According to Boucher, that led to the disestablishment of seven editors’ jobs, largely with its regional papers, and introduced 12 new senior opportunities.

While focusing on digital is obviously a long-term strategy for Fairfax, not everyone is a fan of that focus. In an interesting interview with Radio New Zealand’s MediaWatch, long serving, retiring Fairfax journalist Hank Schouten lamented the pressures on journalists to provide content for different mediums, the removal of editors of some regional papers, the “compulsion to go for a wider audience” and boost clicks with a different type of news, and the cannibalisation of the strengths of newspapers. 

Elsewhere, Fairfax has said goodbye to Dominion Post investigations editor and regular Canon winner Phil Kitchin, who has left to work for Paula Bennett. 

Future focus

In response to the departure of Rees—and to continued digital growth—NZME has appointed Marcus Forbes, the group general manager of digital content for NZME, as digital editor for nzherald.co.nz. A search will be undertaken for a new editorial lead for nzherald.co.nz.

Forbes, who began his journalism career as a sports journalist for the Sunday News newspaper, has worked for Yahoo!Xtra/Yahoo! New Zealand since the company’s inception in 2007. He held a number of roles within the editorial team including editor-in-chief before taking over as general manager – media in June 2013. He began with NZME in March last year. 

“It’s rare to have someone of Marcus’ calibre with the mix of digital and journalism experience,” says Maxwell-Hansen. “He is well respected and through his role is across NZME’s digital strategy so is well positioned to oversee the role.” 

Managing editor of Herald brands, Shayne Currie, who took a bit of heat last week over Rachel Glucina’s interview with Amanda Bailey and the changed statements on nzherald.co.nz and took on an expanded editorial role after the departure of Murphy, said the performance of nzherald.co.nz is critical to the success of its overall news offering and Forbes is an important part of that. 

With this digital focus, Maxwell-Hansen says resourcing is a huge priority and recent appointments for NZME include Andy Wylie as group general manager of digital ad operations and Lauren Hopwood as head of audience engagement, who is responsible for the social media strategy for the group. As mentioned above, it is also looking for a replacement for Gibb. 

International outdoorsman

oOh!media Australia/New Zealand chief executive Brendon Cook has been has been appointed international vice president of the Federation European Publicite Exterieur (FEPE), the global out of home industry body.

With over 35 years’ experience in the sector, Cook has been at the forefront of the OOH advertising business in Australia and New Zealand, creating a multi-award winning company and being actively involved in pioneering the industry’s move into digital. He is the first Australian or New Zealander to be afforded such a position in the 50 year history of the organisation. 

“This is a true indication that the ANZ outdoor advertising industry is on an international level playing field with fellow outdoor advertising companies globally that are synonymous with embracing cutting edge technology and enabling brands to maximise engagement with out of home’s growing audiences,” he says. 

Under his leadership, oOh! has seen nine years of consecutive revenue growth through strategic acquisitions, organic growth and the development and introduction of several new environments to capitalise on the growth in digital. 

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