Sky Network Television’s former chief executive John Fellet has resigned from the board, a month after stepping down as CEO. 

“After a period of transition, during which I have been grateful for John’s advice and support in his capacity as a board member, John has decided to step down from the Sky board,” new chief executive Martin Stewart says. 

Fellet, who retired on February 21 following 28 years with Sky, 18 of them as CEO, will be leaving the board immediately.

In an interview last month, he said he was happy to remain a director until the annual general meeting in October, if Stewart wanted him to.

“I said I’m happy to exchange keys in the parking lot and you’ll never see me again. Or I’ll be a consultant for a dollar a year. Or I’ll be on the board. It’s his call,” Fellet said at the time.

However since then Stewart, a veteran British media executive, has been critical of some of the decisions of his predecessor, making their joint presence at the monthly board meetings potentially uncomfortable.

An article in Newsroom last week suggested the first thing Stewart said to his executive team when he arrived at Sky was: “Who was responsible for losing us the Rugby World Cup?” This is a reference to the rights to screen the 2019 RWC in Japan, which were won by telco Spark.

“I’d like to have [the rights]. We are still the home of sport and it’s about meeting the brand promise,” Stewart told Newsroom’s Mark Jennings.

Even if Sky had to pay a “ridiculous” price, as Fellet had suggested?

“Ridiculous is a fudgeable point,” Stewart said. “Spark [might see it] as a relatively small sum for a marketing campaign.”

Sky TV chairman Peter Macourt says Fellet’s leadership of Sky saw the business transform from three channels and 125 employees to a “multi-platform, highly profitable company with over 1,200 staff serving more than 750,000 New Zealand homes. The innovations that John brought to Sky have revolutionised the way New Zealanders view television, and he leaves a significant legacy.

“The board and I are grateful that John gave us many months’ notice of his intention to retire, and was willing to stay involved in the company in order to ensure a positive transition process for Martin as the new CEO.”

The shares recently traded at $1.35, up 0.8 percent but are down 28 percent so far this year. 

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