Berkett Joins Guardian Media Group as Chairman
Departing Virgin Media chief executive New Zealander Neil Berkett has been named chairman of Guardian Media Group (GMG). During his six-year tenure in the same role at Virgin Media, New Zealand-born Berkett focused on persuading customers to buy more services such as broadband, pay-TV, home phone and mobile. Berkett brings more than 25 years’ experience at customer-facing companies, including National Transcommunications Limited (NTL), Virgin Media’s predecessor, which he joined as chief operating officer in September 2005. Dame Liz Forgan, chairman of the Scott Trust, owner of GMG, highlighted Berkett’s digital expertise and skills in reshaping businesses. According to The Independent, Berkett’s appointment is sending a powerful signal that GMG’s loss-making flagship newspaper, The Guardian, could soon charge for its website. Berkett, a GMG non-executive director since 2009, replaces ex-Morgan Stanley banker Dame Amelia Fawcett, who is retiring. Fawcett said of her successor: “This new chapter in the long and illustrious Guardian story demands experience in new media and digital communications, which is why Neil, is exactly the right person to take on the chair.” Berkett, who takes up the Guardian position in September, has previously worked for Lloyds TSB, Prudential Assurance Company Ltd UK, St George Bank, Eastwest Airlines Australia and ICL Australia. He is also a trustee of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and chairs the National Development Committee.