APN director's abrupt resignation spills into public view amid $A45m loss

One of Australia’s top 200 companies has brought more than just their advertisement projects out into the public arena.

A dispute within Australian media group APN has resulted in the resignation of the company’s director Pierce Cody, allegedly quitting the board over “governance concerns” within the organisation, the Australian Financial Review reported last night.

APN's New Zealand businesses include the New Zealand Herald and the TRN radio network which includes NewsTalkZB

The accusations against APN have been denied by the company saying the decision was instead made on Mr Cody’s own terms because he was not appointed to head the group’s new planned outdoor joint venture with Quadrant Private Equity, worth around $200 million.

Mr Cody has since gone public with his concerns through a statement emailed to the company and key stakeholders last night, a highly unusual move for a company director of any kind.

The email composed by Mr Cody stated that after more than 16 years’ involvement within the company and 10 years on the board, he would be resigning from the organisation with immediate effect.

“Unfortunately I have found it necessary to resign due to unresolved concerns I have had with some ongoing areas of corporate governance,” said Mr Cody in a statement.

APN, however, has since then dismissed the concerns brought forward by Mr Cody.

“There is no basis to question the corporate governance at APN,” said an APN spokesperson.

“The real reason regarding Mr Cody’s departure is related to the fact he didn’t get the role he thought he should have, in the expanded outdoor joint venture [with Quadrant Private Equity].”

Mr Cody said last night that he “aggressively rebutted” APN’s response, declining to comment any further on the matter.

$A45 million loss
APN's full year revenue to December edged up 1% to $A1.07 billion, the company said in a statement to the ASX. 

A $A159 million impairment charge associated with restructuring pushed the company to a $A45 million half-year loss (against a $A94 million profit in the year-ago period).

His resignation follows uncertainty in recent months regarding the level of board involvement in the company’s management, with unconfirmed reports management moves to write down asset values were ‘watered down’ by several sections of the board.

The initial split from the company’s director role is even more note worthy regarding his long and close relationship with Irish media moguls the O’Reilly family, as Gavin O’Reilly has chaired APN since 2004 and is also chief executive of APN’s Dublin-based major shareholder Independent News & Media.

A corporate governance expert has described Mr Cody’s abrupt decision to go public as a rare but welcome move.


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18 Comments & Questions

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So are the Board of APN prepared to have an totally independent proven corporate governance ( I hate the word expert) person ( not the Auditors) review their processes and more importantly the specific matters Mr Cody has raise. Bet not. Why. Where there is smoke there is fire

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APNs decision not to appoint Cody to the Quadrant JV demonstrates sound judgement.

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Agree. Minimal due diligence + his recent removal from board of BHG makes his appt to any position questionable.

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Past experience shows Mr Cody is very good at creating ’smoke’ when things don’t go his way

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Pierce Cody doth protest too much, me thinks

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Pierce Cody doth protest too much, me thinks

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Looks like Mr Cody can identify a sinking ship when he sees one.

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Poor indictment of a company director if that was the case. A directors role is to guide an organization through the difficult times as well as the good.

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Cody's headed up and invested in a few wrecks over the years so you'd think he'd know the signs. But APN a sinking ship? Hardly

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45m loss ..... Isn't that the story.

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I would have been if this bloke hadn't spat the dummy

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I would have been if this bloke hadn't spat the dummy

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You know their upto something, off with there heads

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So unemployed and I'd hazard a guess unemployable!

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So unemployed and I'd hazard a guess unemployable!

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I hope he sacked his PR company, or if he didn't use one he sure as hell needs one. Completely transparent.

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Just stumbled across this. The irony of Cody even commenting on Corporate Governance. Integrity is a fundamental requirement for board members, a trait profoundly lacking in this character.

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Time and time again this man demonstrates that he has no place in business, let alone running one. What is gratifying to hear on the jungle drum is that there is increasing understanding of his lack of, well everything. Can't help but feel sorry for anyone that has dealt with him on a personal or business level.

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