Fairfax names Corbett as next chairman

ROGER Corbett has been named as chairman-elect of Fairfax Media.

Fairfax directors, who met at the offices of the Dominion Post in New Zealand yesterday, announced Mr Corbett, a former Woolworths chief executive, would replace Ron Walker at the company’s
annual general meeting.

Members of the Fairfax family have publicly criticised Mr Walker’s handling of the company, resulting in dissent between board members.

Mr Corbett is a member of the Reserve Bank of Australia board, and a director of Wal-Mart, one of the world’s largest public corporations.

Mr Walker said in a statement: “I am pleased the sucession of the new chairman has been settled and the Board renewal is now in progress, allowing me to step down on 30 October.”

Mr Corbett praised Mr Walker, saying: “Fairfax, like most companies, has challenges ahead, but the decisions taken in the last few years by management and the board have, I believe, put Fairfax in a position which is envied by media companies around the world.”

Previous media reports had Mr Walker undecided about stepping down, until he announced his decision to resign in a one-page statement to the media, saying: “I am very grateful to my fellow independent non-executive directors at Fairfax Media . . . for their encouragement and support.

“In view of the unfortunate developments of the previous few weeks, I have come to the view that in the best interests of our 52,000 shareholders and 10,000 employees, I should not seek re-election.”

Fairfax Media is the 15th largest media company in the world, publishing major newspapers in Australia and New Zealand.

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