Mark Weldon new MediaWorks CEO
The appointment of former NZX boss Mark Weldon to lead MediaWorks was unexpected and could signal a full or part stock-exchange float, a source says.
Weldon was announced this morning as the TV and radio company's new group chief executive.
MediaWorks was put in receivership in last year by its bankers, who then became the company's new owners.
MediaWorks had a number of senior figures internally who could have been considered - the source named head of news Mark Jennings, TV chief executive Paul Maher and sales director Liz Fraser as possible candidates - but had instead gone with an outsider.
"It's an interesting option picking someone from his background," the source said.
"They've deliberately gone away from a media expert to a markets guy, and it does suggest it's being dressed up for sale."
The source said a float would be a tricky proposition, given the company was still structurally the same as it was in 2004, when then-owner CanWest Global floated it on the NZX and the market for television especially was particularly turbulent.
"How would you go about listing the television business where so much TV is starting to segment? Whether its Apple TV, Netflix or whatever, it's a splintering market."
Weldon said it was a quick decision for him to join the business.
"There is a talented and commercial board in place and I am completely aligned with them on the mission and opportunity," he said.
"For me the role offers the chance to be a key shaper of its future. I'm very excited to be a part of that, and work with the team to develop a strategy to lead the change and for MediaWorks to achieve its potential."
Weldon owns and runs Terra Sancta, a Central Otago winery, in conjunction with his wife and business partner, Sarah Eliott.
He starts at MediaWorks on August 11. Outgoing CEO Sussan Turner will finish with the company on August 15.
MediaWorks chairman Rod McGeoch said the board was delighted to have attracted someone of Weldon's capability.
"Mark brings his tremendous talents as both leader and innovator and he has an enormous passion for New Zealand Inc," McGeoch said.
MediaWorks had emerged from its June 2013 receivership sooner and in better shape than initially anticipated.
"The future of the television and radio markets continues to look bright," he said.
"Our aim is to grow market share and continue to build the most vibrant, entrepreneurial and spirited organisation that is a real favourite of all New Zealanders."
MediaWorks owns TV3 and FOUR and numerous radio stations, including The Edge and More FM.