Ten Network has named two new directors to its board including former trade minister Andrew Robb as mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s representative.
Among the new non-executive directors is the chief executive of regional broadcaster WIN Corp, Andrew Lancaster, a move foreshadowed by The Australian.
WIN owns 14.9 per cent of Ten (TEN) as part of a stake held by Bermuda-based billionaire Bruce Gordon’s private investment vehicle, Birketu.
The two networks have been drawn closer together by a new affiliate agreementunder which Ten supplies WIN with programming in regional areas.
Mr Lancaster said: “I’m excited at the opportunity to join the board of Ten, a company that through fresh and innovative content, is showing strong audience and revenue growth.”
The fresh blood on the board follows the retirement of Brian Long from the board after six years. A director since July 2010, Mr Long served as chairman from 2011 to 2012 and deputy chairman from 2012.
Mr Robb replaces John Klepec, chief development officer at Ms Rinehart’s mining company Hancock Prospecting. He has been an alternate director and then a director of Ten since October 2013.
The changes, which are effective immediately, follow the emergence last year of pay-TV operator Foxtel as a major shareholder brought in to recapitalise the balance sheet of the broadcaster. Foxtel is represented by its chief executive Peter Tonagh.
Remaining board members include Siobhan McKenna, a representative for shareholder Lachlan Murdoch, and two independent directors, chair David Gordon and Paul Gleeson, who has been on the board for nearly 20 years.
Mr Gordon said: “I am delighted to welcome Andrew to the Board. Bruce Gordon’s company has been a major shareholder in Ten for many years and with the commencement of the new regional television affiliation agreement between Ten and WIN, our two companies have become even closer.”
Of the move to install Mr Robb, Mr Gordon said: “Andrew Robb has had a distinguished career in the government sector and previous experience in marketing and the media.
“I am very pleased to welcome him to the Ten Board. Andrew will bring invaluable expertise and insights to the Board and to Ten, as Ten continues to deliver improved performance and results.”
A former federal director and campaign director of the Liberal Party, Mr Robb also worked for the Packer family as well as advising major companies around Australia and overseas.
Mr Robb said: “I look forward to bringing my extensive political and business experience to the Ten Board. I also hope to contribute a strong regional perspective from my years running the National Farmers’ Federation.”
At the market close, Ten Network shares were up 4.8 per cent to 98c.