Technology & Convergence In Brief:


• Blu-ray disc and HD DVD player to be introduced into the South African market in the third quarter of 2007. LG Electronics said last week that it will be launching the "Super Multi Blue" dual-format, high definition disc player during the third quarter of 2007.

• BBC Africa Radio Awards (Nairobi, Kenya) – 26th May

§ Ghana Journalist Association Awards – August

Kenya: NMG Chairman Hannington Awori Calls It a Day

Long-serving Board member and Chairman of the Nation Media Group, Hannington Awori, has retired. He has been chairman of the Nation Media Group since September 2000 and a member of the Board of Directors for more than 18 years.

Announcing his retirement at a Board meeting at the Nation Centre last Wednesday, Mr Awori said his most recent term as a director was expiring this month, and therefore, he had decided to step down so that a new chairman could help guide the Group through the next phase of its development.

Accepting his retirement, the Board expressed its deep gratitude for his service, and has issued a statement through Gerry Wilkinson, another long-serving member of the Board.

It said: "The Nation Media Group has indeed been fortunate that its Board of Directors has been chaired by Hannington Awori over the past seven and a half years. This has been a period of proud accomplishment for NMG, in its continuing editorial excellence, in the broadening scope of its activities and in its financial progress. Chairman Awori's wise leadership has contributed significantly to this record, and we salute and thank him upon his retirement for his long and distinguished service - both as Chairman, and as a member of the Board for nearly two decades."

The Board will elect a new chairman in due course. Awori joined the board in April 1989. When the finance and audit committee of the board was created in 1993, he became its first chairman. In 2000, he succeeded Dr B.M. Gecaga as Chairman of the full Board.

Financially, the years of Awori's chairmanship were particularly successful ones for NMG. In a little over seven years, the company's market capitalisation increased more than five-fold (from Sh2.9 billion to Sh17.23 billion). Company turnover more than doubled during that period.

Among other major initiatives, Awori played a key role in the acquisition by NMG of a majority shareholding in Monitor Publications Limited in Uganda in 2000, and, two years later, in the acquisition of a majority position in Mwananchi Communications Limited in Tanzania. In 2004, the Company entered into a joint venture to form East African Magazines Limited, which now publishes the Drum and True Love magazines.

During his chairmanship, the company also launched the Weekly Advertiser and the Business Daily in Nairobi, and The Citizen, a daily and Sunday English language newspaper in Dar es Salaam. More recently, it has started a new television station, NTV, in Uganda, while organising major re-launches of NTV in Kenya as well as its radio stations in Kenya and Uganda. His Highness the Aga Khan, Chairman of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), NMG's principal shareholder, described Mr Awori as "a central figure in the successful story of the Nation Media Group for nearly two decades - more than one-third of the company's entire lifespan.

The East African (Nairobi), 8th May 2007