The chief executive of the New Zealand Film Commission has resigned amid a conflict of interest review.
David Strong has been on leave since May after a review was ordered following concerns that a project he was working on – The Pilgrim – had secured development funding from NZ on Air.
The NZ Film Commission confirmed Strong’s departure today, almost a year since he first took on the role, replacing Annabelle Sheehan. Mladen Ivancic assumed temporary duties.
Strong said his interest in a TV adaptation of The Pilgrim – first conceived as a film a decade ago – had been “fully stated” before his appointment, “with expert advice”.
“Recently, the Board and I have worked through the issues. We have agreed, unfortunately, that my continued increasing private commitments are no longer compatible with this role.”
Strong added: “It has been a privilege to be the Commission’s CEO, working with the highly dedicated team and passionate filmmakers across New Zealand and internationally.
“It’s a role I’ve taken very seriously and given it my all. But my commitment to a major television project that I have been working on for many years means that I have decided to step down from the Film Commission.”
Kerry Prendergast, chairman of the commission’s board, added that the New Zealand Film Commission “respects his decision to step down as the best course of action for him and the Film Commission Board at this time…”
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