Board approves senior TVNZ changes

The board of TVNZ has approved changes to the structure of its top-level management, the state broadcaster said.

But no details were announced, with chief executive Rick Ellis expected to brief staff next week.

The changes are the first step in a wider internal restructure, which is expected to be in place by the middle of the year.

“The TVNZ board endorsed the direction of the organisational redesign, the first phase of which is the structure of the senior management team,” TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards.

“Mr Ellis will talk in more detail to the staff early next week.”

About 10 executives report directly to Mr Ellis and there has speculation about the future of high-profile managers such as news head Bill Ralston, who has seen One News’ rating slump since his appointment in 2003.

Referring to the speculation, Ms Richards said the intention of today’s meeting had not been to announce any redundancies.

Instead, it focused on TVNZ’s structure and “how we manage that down through the organisation to put us in the shape to pursue our strategic objectives”.

TVNZ has been struggling with declining viewership and loss of advertising. Its last annual report recorded a $9.4 million drop in advertising revenue.

In November, Mr Ellis told a parliamentary select committee that TVNZ was not meeting its budget and job losses were looming.

He said there had been speculation up to 200 jobs would go, but nothing had been decided.

Last month, TVNZ presented an overall strategy to the Government.

Ms Richards said the restructure was a continuing process.

“The way Mr Ellis has decided to handle this is start at the top of the organisation, sort that out and take it down level by level,” she said.

The review was being drawn up by an in-house team of senior staff, with guidance by outside experts in organisational design.

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