WAN board field jumps to 11

07/03/2008 - 17:18


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Five new names have emerged in the contest for four directorships of WA Newspapers Holdings in the wake of Seven Network Ltd's move to spill the board, pushing the field to 11.

Five new names have emerged in the contest for four directorships of WA Newspapers Holdings in the wake of Seven Network Ltd's move to spill the board, pushing the field to 11.

New names are:
- Busselton newsagent Sharon Armour
- Media representative Kevin O'Keeffe
- Engineer, telco executive and pieNETWORKS Ltd director Peter Abery
- Former News Corporation Ltd executive Keith Bales
- Former WAN employee Mervyn Brewer

They join six other known candidates:
- UWA deputy vice-chancellor Margaret Seares
- Internet entrepreneur Aidan Montague
- Internet publisher Stephen Mayne
- Former editor of The Age Steve Harris
- Australian Capital Equity managing director Peter Gammell (a Seven nominee)
- Seven chairman Kerry Stokes


Below is the available biography information obtained from company records, or the candidates themselves:

Peter Abery
Mr Abery is a non-executive director of listed internet kiosk operator pienetworks Ltd. According to web biography information and ASIC records, prior to that he held the position of CEO of the HPM Group based in Sydney, until mid February 2007 when the company was purchased by Legrand France.
At that point, Mr Abery was appointed CEO of HPM in December 2005 by Investec Private Equity when it took a 25%shareholding in the company. Mr Abery is currently a non executive director of HPM. Prior to this Peter spent a 4 year period in the UK where he held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Crown Castle UK Ltd from December 2001. The company was purchased in September 2004 from Crown Castle International Inc by National Grid Transco for £1.1 Billion and subsequently renamed National Grid Wireless. For the last 6 months of 2005 he held the position of Deputy Chairman of the company. He also held the position of Chairman of Freeview, a television broadcasting joint venture with BSkyB and the BBC in the UK.Prior to this, he held the post of President and Managing Director of Crown Castle Australia Limited from January 2000.
Mr Abery was formerly managing director of Vodafone Network in Australia, and, prior to joining Vodafone, held various senior management positions with Telstra including managing director of Industry Services for Telstra's Domestic Wholesale Business and Director of Strategy for Telstra.
He is also a former executive director of Basslink Australia GP Pty Ltd a subsidiary of National Grid Australia. The BassLink power transmission undersea cable from Hydro Tasmania to the national power grid in the eastern states is the responsibility of National Grid Australia.
In 1989, Mr Abery joined QPSX Communications Ltd as a software engineer. As part of the technology purchase, Peter joined Jtec Pty Ltd in 1994 as Team Leader for Embedded Products. In 1997 Peter assumed the role of Software Manager, managing teams in Perth, Sydney and Hyderabad (India), developing both embedded software and Network Management products.

Aidan Montague
Mr Montague is an engineer by training, Mr Montague has significant experience in internet commerce beyond his days at Cisco.
He established golf.com.au in the 1990s, which resulted in Australia's first independent golf tour, the Australian Players Tour, which ran 14 professional golf tournaments before he disbanded the events side of the business to join Cisco.
He is also a founder of a business offering online sales advice called GlobeVista.
After establishing Cisco's business in Australia from the east coast, Mr Montague worked for the group in the UK and Singapore before returning to Perth several years ago for family reasons.

Margaret Seares
Ms Seares is holds the position of senior deputy vice chancellor at The University of Western Australia.
She holds a PhD from UWA in Music, her field of specialty being the keyboard music of the 18th century. From 1991-1995 she was Head of the School of Music, and Deputy Chair of the Academic Board at UWA, and from 1994-5 she was a member of the University Senate, the governing body.
In 1995 she accepted a two-year secondment to the position of Chief Executive Officer with the West Australian Department for the Arts (now the Department of Culture & the Arts). The position involved the management of the arts portfolio, the management of the Government's arts funding process, and providing advice to the Minister on the arts policies of the day. During this time she was a member of the boards of the Western Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of WA, the Perth Theatre Trust, Opera Australia, and of the Advisory Board of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
In 1997 she was appointed to a 4-year term as Chair of the Australia Council, the Australian Government's arts funding and advisory agency. The Council is responsible for funding the arts across the spectrum, ranging from literature to opera, and works with a budget of around $120m. It is also the principal source of policy advice for the Federal Minister for the Arts and his department.
In addition to membership of the Australia Council, she was a member of the Foreign Minister's Australia International Cultural Council and a Director of the Australia Business Arts Foundation.
Since completion of her term as Chair of the Australia Council she has been a member of the Australia-Japan Foundation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Arts Advisory Committee (of which she was Chair), the Expert Advisory Committee for Humanities & Creative Arts for the Australian Research Council, and the Chair of the National Collections Advisory Forum. In 2006 she completed the task of chairing the National Review of Music Education for the Federal Minister for Education, the recommendations of which are in the process of consideration and implementation.
She has just completed her final term as a member of the National Australia Day Council, and the Board of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, and remains a member of the Board of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, of the Council of Scotch College (WA), and of the General Council of the WA Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Professor Seares is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
In 2003 Professor Seares was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of her work for the arts and education.
Within the University of Western Australia she has line management responsibility for all the Faculties, and additional policy responsibility for Human Resource and Community Outreach, and she shares the External Relations portfolio with the vice chancellor.

Kevin O'Keeffe
Mr O'Keeffe was the founder of O'Keeffe Media a Subiaco-based agency which represents media, including 425 newspapers, around the country. He founded the business in 1983 after previously working at TVW7 in Perth as a sales manager.
His previous experience to that was in sales with The West Australian and its subsidiaries.
Mr O'Keeffe, who is retired, said he has no connection with Mr Stokes and he believes WAN ought to concentrate more on its Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday editions of its newspaper.


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