Former media and telecommunications boss Jack Matthews has been appointed to the Board of Network for Learning.

His appointment comes as the company progresses its work on building the managed network that will provide New Zealand schools with equitable access to safe, predictable, and fast internet with uncapped data, content filtering and network security services.

N4L Chair Helen Robinson says Mr Matthews brings a wealth of commercial and international experience to the N4L board, particularly in the digital content media space.

“Jack’s spearheaded a number of digital initiatives for media and broadcasting companies around the world, and his expertise in this area will complement the skills of N4L’s diverse governance team. He is a fantastic addition to our board and we look forward to his input during this early stage of the company’s formation.”

Mr Matthews has spent seven years leading two Fairfax Media divisions in Sydney; first as head of its digital operations and more recently as CEO of the company’s Metro Media division. In this latter role he was tasked with combining Fairfax’s metro newspapers with their digital arms as readers moved their news consumption to the internet, mobile phones and tablet devices.

In New Zealand, he was the driving force behind the rollout of a hybrid fibre-coax cable network and Wellington and Christchurch, when he was CEO of what was then known as TelstraSaturn.

He is currently on the board of Crown Fibre Holdings, the company tasked to manage the government’s $1.5 billion investment in Ultra-Fast Broadband infrastructure.

“Mr Matthews’ background rolling out fibre-cable networks in New Zealand, coupled with his international experience in transforming media companies to adapt to the digital age, makes him a perfect fit for N4L,” says N4L CEO John Hanna.

Commenting on the appointment, Mr Matthews says he is looking forward to joining the N4L governance team. “My interest in N4L is driven by my conviction that digital content and technology can be a key enabler to help deliver better outcomes for students and their learning. I believe that education is a fundamental and critical contributor to society and the more tools teachers and students have, the better the outcomes should be.”

Before joining Fairfax, the US-born executive worked in pay television, at Japan-based Jupiter Programming, a joint venture between US-based Liberty Media and Sumitomo Corporation in Japan.

A New Zealand citizen of US birth, Mr Matthews is currently living in Sydney, but intends to establish a New Zealand base. Mr Matthews’ appointment will be up to 30 April 2016.

Mr Matthews fills the last vacant space on N4L’s board, which includes: Chair Helen Robinson, a full-time professional director and 30-year technology business leader; Deputy Chair Mark Yeoman, who has a career spanning technology and telecommunications and is currently CFO at NZ Post; Linda Tame, who has recently retired following 16 years as a school principal; Humphrey Wikeepa, CTO of tertiary education provider Te Wānanga o Aotearoa; Rick Shera, who chairs Netsafe and is a Senior Partner with law firm Lowndes Jordan; and Martin Wylie, who was formerly General Counsel for Telecom and CEO of Call Plus, and who now runs his own environmental eco-insulation business.