Pioneering Vietnam investment entrepreneur Chris Dawe has been appointed chief executive officer of Post Media Ltd, publisher of The Phnom Penh Post.
Dawe also joins the board of directors as it moves to diversify its interests and eyes possible local partners.
“Chris has an entrepreneurial flair, but at the same time he is a solid, grassroots-style operator. He’s a no-nonsense entrepreneur with an outstanding network at all levels of business and politics in the region. We will relish having his skills here and he will be a valuable exponent for Cambodia,” said the Post’s publisher, Ross Dunkley.
“The company has come a long way in a very challenging financial and media environment and as we move into the last phase of our first five-year period of operations we are delighted to have Chris on board,” Dunkley said.
“We have already successfully turned the iconic Phnom Penh Post into Cambodia’s first international-standard daily. And its sister publication in Khmer continues to steadily grab the top end of the market.
Combined, we are easily the biggest-read newspapers in the nation. But there is still plenty of untapped opportunity and Chris will be the glue that binds our operations together as a cohesive unit,” said Dunkley.
Dawe, an Australian, brings more than 20 years experience in the region, having founded and chaired the company that publishes The Vietnam Investment Review in Vietnam.
Started in 1991, the VIR was the first foreign-invested media project in the country’s modern history.
Later, he led negotiations for its sale to Australian billionaire Kerry Packer and his son James and continued to work with the group until stepping aside in 1999. His company also signed the first-ever joint venture in television in Vietnam.
Dawe has also served as a director of the $1.3 billion Dragon Capital and retains close ties with its CEO and major shareholder Dominic Scriven.
“I’m astounded at what the Post has been able to achieve in a very challenging financial and media environment. The papers and company have weathered some of the most extreme circumstances, yet remarkably continue to show great growth and potential. As the only independent media player in Cambodia and as a 100 per cent-owned foreign business, we need to examine the options carefully,” said Dawe.
“The board has charged me with analysing the market conditions and to aggressively seek revenues in a sector which attracts $50 million a year in advertising.
“We are certainly considering a television position and FM radio option and have some exciting telephony ground to ourselves with technology that delivers information to mobile phones. We’ll be examining them more closely and also dealing with several approaches we have had to sell equity in the company, from onshore and here locally,” he said.
Dawe replaces Ramady Moun, who acted as CEO from January 2011 until last week.
Moun is leaving his post to head up Post Real Estate, a subsidiary company that intends to become a full service estate agent.
In other changes, Chan Davy, formerly the Post’s commercial director, takes up a new role as the chief operations officer for the company.