Media

Mark Weldon’s final Hilary Barry screw up

Mark Weldon misrepresented Hilary Barry in a company-wide email before his resignation, writes Hayden Donnell.

On Monday night Mark Weldon sent an email to all MediaWorks staff. It was mostly a defence of his tumultuous tenure as the company’s CEO: assertions its finances were in good order, potshots at “spurious” speculation over its ability to survive. There was also a reasonably newsworthy section about the departing newsreader Hilary Barry. It denounced the “external media rumours about Hilary’s next move” and made this pronouncement:

HilaryWeldonMemo750

According to multiple sources, that was wrong. Weldon only had one conversation with Barry after her resignation. He didn’t inquire about her plans, and she wasn’t asked whether she was in discussions with TVNZ or other media.

Barry was surprised by the email, sources say. She told Weldon it was inaccurate and talked to senior colleagues about how she should respond before the embattled CEO’s resignation was announced.

Weldon’s decision to depart also came after a series of meetings between senior MediaWorks staff and one of the company’s newly appointed board members, Jack Matthews. Staff were open about what they saw as Weldon’s failings, a MediaWorks source says. Several of them were likely to resign in the coming days if Weldon remained as CEO, the same source says.

In the end, they didn’t have to. The email announcing Weldon’s departure went out to all staff at 9.04am.

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