APN hires Bauer’s Tony Kendall for the top job at ARN

APN News & Media’s Ciaran Davis on new ARN CEO Tony Kendall: “What we need to do is bring skills from outside the industry”

By James Manning

APN News & Media CEO Ciaran Davis told Mediaweek there were many reasons Tony Kendall was the best person for Davis’ old job – chief executive of Australian Radio Network.

“If you look at the way the whole radio industry is going in terms of integrated offerings, partnerships and consolidated offerings we have attracted someone who has been there at the highest level and done it across multiple platforms from a publishing and digital perspective. He is very well regarded commercially and he can look at integration in a different way. The opportunity for ARN now is to be more market focused and to be delivering even better solutions than we are doing at the moment.”

As to the fact Kendall doesn’t have radio experience, Davis asked and answered the question: “The executive team at ARN are highly trained and experienced radio professionals be it Michael Harvey [COO and CFO], Duncan Campbell [national content director] to Matt Granger [national agency sales director] – we have a really good radio team there. What we need to do is bring in skills from outside the industry to help us think a bit differently to ensure we are solving clients’ needs.”

Davis was adamant that during his time running radio, they had done very well turning around both the content and the ad return. “If you take power ratio as a measurement we are doing well there. There is even more opportunity in the growth strategies we have around KIIS and the integration of Perth [96FM]. We have now brought in someone who has done that on different platforms and who can give us different ideas.”

There is no confirmation yet about Kendall’s start date, but it seems like it will be November before Kendall will be able to leave Bauer Media.

Kendall will also be responsible for overseeing the expansion of iHeartRadio in Australia. “We have done a lot of work on iHeartRadio and it is making good progress,” said Davis. “We have Emotive involved in iHeartRadio and there is a lot of opportunities coming through. It will be a focus for us over the next couple of years as we think there is a lot of commercial uplift.”

Asked how he is fitting in the different parts of the business as the new chief executive of APN News & Media, Davis joked he is using all eight days of the week. “It’s been an exciting three weeks, which has included the half-year results. It’s been good fun and challenging. With the management team at ARN being so strong they have been able to look after themselves. I have been working getting across all the new business units.”

Ciaran Davis on leaving ARN: “Every CEO has a shelf life. I had five years at ARN and I was beginning to think it was time to get fresh blood in there. Every business needs that after a period of time.”

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