W&H, Liberty, Xtra bosses join Walker Wireless board

Walker Wireless has appointed three business heavyweights to its board, giving it a strong telecommunications and media presence.

Walker Wireless has appointed three heavyweights to its board, giving it a strong telecommunications and media presence.

The new directors are Wilson & Horton chairman John Maasland, owner of Liberty Press Group Barry Colman, and former Xtra general manager Bob Smith.

Colman's Liberty Press Group became involved with Walker in a roundabout way late last year, when Liberty took a substantial stake in the little-known Alternative Futures, at the same time as Alternative Futures was bitterly renouncing its joint venture with Walker Wireless.

Alternative Futures accused Walker of defaulting on their agreement and promised to provide it clients with "a faster and superior wireless Internet communications service" to that available from Walker. But within weeks it was absorbed into Walker, giving Colman a stake in the company of which he is now a director.

John Maasland is chairman of The Radio Network, and a director of Carter Holt Harvey Limited. He was previously chief executive of Wilson & Horton Group, New Zealand's largest newspaper publisher and printing company.

Bob Smith left his job as general manager of Telecom Internet Services last year, as then Telecom Services chief Theresa Gattung reshaped the company's Internet operations. He was regarded as a steady hand after the more colourful reign of founding general manager Chris Tyler. Before Xtra he was general manager of Business Information Services (BIS) for Telecom.

Walker Wireless chairman Rod Inglis said yesterday the new directors brought with them a mixture of commercial expertise and deep technical understanding that would accelerate progress towards the company's vision of being the leading provider of fast Internet access through fixed wireless connection.

"We are delighted that the new directors agreed to join the board. They are as excited as we are about the future for fixed broadband wireless in New Zealand and they represent a bank of knowledge we are fortunate to have as a management resource," Inglis said.

"John Maasland brings a wealth of experience in the governance of public listed companies. Bob Smith has a wide understanding of the new economy and how it integrates with the telecommunications industry. And Barry Colman is the quintessential self-made entrepreneurs who has created a highly respected business publishing group."

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