Gardiner to lead Ovato NZ as Ellis moves on

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Current Bauer Media commercial director Paul Gardiner is to succeed Simon Ellis as managing director of Ovato’s New Zealand operations.

New Ovato NZ managing director: Paul Gardiner
New Ovato NZ managing director: Paul Gardiner

Industry veteran Ellis will pull up stumps after heading Ovato for the past four years, and will be returning to the family base in Tauranga, 200kms south of Auckland.

Gardiner brings 30 years of media and marketing experience to bear on the role, and will be returning to his homeland after an extended stint in Australia, most recently leading large-scale success and organisational change in his role as commercial director at Bauer Media in Australia.

He takes the role at a testing time, with web margins under intense pressure in New Zealand due to overcapacity. In the last financial year the New Zealand Ovato business saw a 5.8 per cent slip in sales to $114.3m. Ovato NZ EBITDA of $4.6m was down 57 per cent, the result of a ferocious price war going on there, with EBITDA/sales ratio down from 8.8 per cent to 4 per cent.
Kevin Slaven, CEO, Ovato said, “I have been able to witness Paul’s impact firsthand, firstly as a client of Ovato and more recently with our time together on the Board of the Real Media Collective. One of the core elements of our strategy is a focus on our customers, and being able to bring a talented commercial and innovative leader back to New Zealand and into this role will allow us to focus even more fully on our customers’ needs.”

Gardiner said, “There are many common challenges across print and publishing, and I feel I’m coming into the role with both eyes open and a demonstrated passion and belief in the sector.

“I am excited to be able to come home into this role, and build on the strength that the Ovato business has shown since the rebrand last February.”

Moving on after four years: Simon Ellis
Moving on after four years: Simon Ellis           

Gardiner replaces Simon Ellis, with the company saying his work as CEO has cemented Ovato’s reputation as a quality print partner including recognition as the most awarded web print company at Pride in Print.

A passionate industry advocate, Ellis also served as president of the NZ Community Newspapers Association until 2018, and has recently offered a strong voice on the Government’s proposed changes to industry training. He is returning home to Tauranga to spend more time with family, and is looking towards future opportunities either within or outside of the Media Industry where he has worked for over 40 years.
Slaven said “Simon is an excellent leader who can be proud of the work he has done for us at Ovato and the wider impact he has made across the New Zealand print industry. We wish him well.”

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