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Joan Withers named chair of Television New Zealand, replacing Walden

Professional director Joan Withers has been named chair of Television New Zealand, replacing Wayne Walden.

Withers has been deputy chair of the state-owned broadcaster since 2009 and her previous experience in media companies includes being chief executive of Fairfax Media New Zealand.

TVNZ dominates free-to-air broadcasting in New Zealand and its market share rose to 61.6 percent in the first half from 60.9 percent. Sales and profit both fell as advertising revenue, which makes up 88 percent of total sales, weakened and costs rose. Chief executive Kevin Kenrick told parliament's commerce committee last week the company expects to resume dividend payments in 2016 after a hiatus while it redeveloped its headquarters.

In announcing Withers' appointment, Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams said her background and expertise in media "positions her well to take the helm of TVNZ at a time when it's growing its online presence."

Withers is also chair of Mighty River Power, and sits on the board of ANZ New Zealand. Her term as chair of TVNZ runs from May 1 until April 30, 2016.