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New Allied Press chief executive named

NZN 11/06/2016

Sir Julian Smith is stepping down from the day-to-day running of Dunedin-based Allied Press after 40 years.

The news was carried in the company's flagship newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, on Saturday.

Dunedin City Council group financial manager Grant McKenzie, 46, is named as the company's new chief executive. Sir Julian, 72, will continue as chairman.

"The company has ambitious plans to extend its reach across a variety of platforms, and Grant has a wealth of experience to lead us in that direction," Sir Julian says.

Sir Julian is the great-great-grandson of George Bell who arrived in Dunedin in 1863 and invested in the business now known as Allied Press in 1869.

In a management buyout and privatisation in 1986 Sir Julian became principal shareholder, chairman of directors and managing director, and his brother Nick became a director and manager.

Allied Press continued as a strong locally owned publisher when other media assets were bought by foreigners.

The Australian parents of Fairfax New Zealand and NZME, the two largest publishers, are currently planning to spin-off their New Zealand assets and merge them if they can get approval.

Allied Press owns regional TV stations, publishes a string of community papers and is a majority owner of the Greymouth Star.

Dunedin City Council's chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said Mr McKenzie had made a huge difference to the council in the two-and-a-half years he had been there.

Mr McKenzie joined the council in January 2014 from the role of financial services director at the University of Otago.

It was yet to be confirmed when Mr McKenzie would take up his new post, the council said.

Mr McKenzie said while he had enjoyed his time at the council, his new position as chief executive was a great opportunity for him and his family.

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