Resigned: Peter Hunt
The crisis at the heart of APN News & Media has deepened with the company this evening announcing the resignation of CEO Brett Chenoweth, chairman Peter Hunt and directors John Harvey, Melinda Conrad and John Maasland.
APN is Australasia’s third largest newspaper publisher after News Limited and Fairfax.
As well as regional newspapers in Queensland and New South Wales, the company owns the NZ Herald and a string of other Kiwi titles. It also owns jointly with Clear Channel the Australian Radio Network – the parent company of Mix FM and Classic Hits – and outdoor company Adshel. APN News & Media also owns half of APN Outdoor.
The current crisis appears to have been triggered by a market update late last year signalling fading revenues and a possible need to run a capital raising. Late last week, APN’s biggest shareholder, the Ireland-based Independent News & Media called for CEO Brett Chenoweth to be removed. The company is currently in a trading halt on the ASX.
According to tonight’s announcement, the board had been unable to agree on the best way to reduce the company’s debts with the outgoing directors supporting a capital raising at the same time the company announced its annual results. This announcement is still due to take place on Thursday.
According to the announcement, a search firm will be appointed to find a new CEO and new board members.
The resignations are effective from 9am Eastern tomorrow. A spokesman told Mumbrella that an acting CEO would be appointed “within the next few days”.
Deputy chairman Ted Harris is not among the resignations. Harris acted up as chairman last year after the departure of previous chairman Gavin O’Reilly.