New leadership group for Stuff revealed

Stuff has taken a bold step towards the future, appointing a new CEO and introducing three Managing Director positions to spearhead its major businesses.

Laura Maxwell has been appointed as Chief Executive of Stuff Group, while current owner and publisher Sinead Boucher will become the Executive Chair and Publisher of the company.

In this new role, Boucher is looking forward to focusing on the strategic future of the business, its products and journalism as it shifts to prepare for the next big disruptive force of the digital era – the advent of new generative AI technologies.

The move comes on the third anniversary of the day Boucher acquired Stuff Limited, which reaches an audience of nearly 3.4 million each month through  stuff.co.nz, 45 newspapers, three magazines, community network Neighbourly and the Stuff Events business. 

Stuff Limited was purchased in a management buyout from its Australian owners Nine at the peak of the Covid pandemic. Since then, the company has invested heavily in new technologies, new content and products. 

“We’ve done a huge amount of valuable transformation over the past three years. We’ve been on a journey to put our customer at the centre of our strategy and develop a deeper understanding of our unique audiences who we know want different things from our products and engage with them in unique ways,” says Boucher.

“Now feels like the perfect time to pivot more strongly towards our audience and customer needs and hand over the daily leadership of the business to a fantastic new CEO, who will bring her own talents, experience and perspectives for the next chapter of the company.”

Maxwell is an experienced executive leader and digital CEO with significant experience in the media industry, having worked for NZME for many years as Chief Digital Officer and Chief Commercial Officer as well as Chief Executive of OneRoof, DRIVEN and GrabOne.  Prior experience in Outdoor media and as GM Yahoo!NZ rounds out a comprehensive media portfolio.

“Laura has significant experience in building and scaling businesses, and has a proven track record of crafting and delivering strategies that result in accelerated revenue and profit growth in large-scale businesses,” says Boucher. 

Maxwell says she is looking forward to building on Stuff’s 160 year legacy and commitment to making Aotearoa a better place through quality journalism and enabling advertisers to reach audiences of value.

“I’m passionate about the role of media in upholding democracy and presenting a range of perspectives to help New Zealand continue to be a nation of independent thinkers. I thrive at building and leading high-performing teams and am honoured to take over the mantle from Sinead to continue to build a sustainable business for the future,” says Maxwell.

This marks the first step on a transformative journey aimed at embracing the opportunities of the new era, kickstarting a multi-year change by appointing three Managing Directors to key divisions.

Chief Audio Officer Nadia Tolich has been appointed MD of Stuff Digital, and is charged with leading stuff.co.nz, Neighbourly and the rapidly growing audio division. 

“I’m looking forward to reaching New Zealanders at scale, serving up lively, bold and entertaining content that stokes the interest of the nation and builds on our position as the number 1 digital site in NZ. That unrivalled reach, combined with the hyper-local power of Neighbourly and connection with nearly a million members across the motu is an exciting proposition,” says Tolich.

Chief Content Officer Joanna Norris will take up the new role of MD of Stuff Masthead Publishing which includes Stuff’s metropolitan, regional and community digital sites and newspapers, magazines and commercial printing.

“Our mastheads are totally focused on our subscribers and delivering beautifully told journalism from across the country in print and digital channels. Drawing on our 160 year history of journalism, we are reinvigorating and growing the portfolio of iconic journalism brands which are embedded in communities across New Zealand,” says Norris.

Executive Commercial Director Matt Headland has been appointed MD of Stuff Brand Connections, a nimble commercial offering that will arm advertisers with a comprehensive range of cross-media solutions that are both channel focused and integrated across omnichannel audiences. Headland will also be charged with driving audience and commercial growth for key products. The flourishing Stuff Events business will also fold into Stuff Brand Connections.

“We’re aiming to create a more efficient and effective business model that will enhance commercial growth and audience engagement. With a clear focus on innovation, technology, and customer experience, we are confident that we can achieve our goals and build strong and sustainable business solutions for our customers,” says Headland.

Boucher said the line up of extremely talented new leaders, with unrivalled experience in digital and publishing innovation, editorial and commercial was a really exciting development for Stuff and its customers and people. She looks forward to working closely with Maxwell and the team.

The new roles will come into effect in July.

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