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Rick Ellis washes his hands of TVNZ, heads across the waters to Telstra

Having thrown in the towel at TVNZ, Rick Ellis is heading to Australia to join Telstra in January.

Having thrown in the towel at TVNZ, Rick Ellis is heading to Australia to join Telstra in January.

Ellis announced he was resigning in order to lead a new division called Telstra Digital Media as group managing director – digital media, with responsibility for Telstra’s Sensis, Bigpond, Trading Post and IPTV businesses, and Telstra’s partnership with Foxtel.

Ellis has spent 10 years as TVNZ chief executive, during which time TV ONE and TV2 consolidated their leadership position in the New Zealand free-to-air television market and the company diversified into digital media areas including on-line, pay TV channels, and new digital free-to-air channels.

His move follows other high-profile Kiwis heading to Australia, including TVNZ’s head of news and current affairs Anthony Flannery, Telecom’s Kieren Cooney and, a while back, TVNZ’s last sales and marketing manager Dave Walker.

No word on a replacement yet, but the Herald said Ellis has been tipped to be replaced by TVNZ’s head of sales and marketing Paul Maher.