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AUCKLAND, Today: A group of Australian investors in NZME have engineered the abrupt resignation of chairman Peter Cullinane, shortly before yesterday’s annual shareholders’ meeting.

Cullinane told the Herald he felt it “appropriate to step down” because he’d lost the support of Australian fund-manager shareholders. Cullinane was up for re-election as chairman.

“What I did know is that it recently became apparent that I didn’t have the support of significant Australian fund managers,” he said.

Asked what the reaction of the board was to that, he said they were “somewhat surprised”.

Asked why fund managers voted against his re-election, he said the obvious reason is the company’s depressed share price.

“Nothing personal in it, it was a protest vote.”

“What I would say is that I have enormous respect for the NZME team. It’s a challenging industry, and starting with cep Michael Boggs, they are doing a fantastic job.”

In a brief statement posted to the NZX, NZME said independent director Carol Campbell would chair yesterday’s meeting.

“The directors will discuss a new chair for the company at a board meeting next week. An announcement regarding NZME’s new chair will be made after that.

“All along we’ve fallen for the hype that NZME was owned and controlled in NZ. Silly us.”

“The board would like to reiterate its confidence in Michael Boggs and his Executive team.

“Michael has led the business through an incredibly challenging time, including the crisis phase of Covid-19.”

Cullinane was appointed chairman of NZME in December 2017 following the retirement of the late Sir John Anderson.

A former international marketing executive and founder of high-end dairy company Lewis Road Creamery, Cullinane chaired the board through a controversial period as NZME made multiple attempts to merge with, or buy, fellow media company Stuff.

That process came to a shuddering halt last month when Stuff-owner Nine broke away from talks with NZME and sold the business to its chief executive Sinead Boucher.

Cullinane had been up for re-election at today’s meeting, along with director Barbara Chapman.

NZME’s notice of meeting on May 15 stated that Cullinane had the full support of the board.

Aussie control?
All along we’ve fallen for the hype that NZME was owned and controlled in NZ. Silly us.

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