Guardian Media Group (GMG) said yesterday that it had appointed Virgin Media chief executive Neil Berkett to its board as a non-executive director.<br /><br />The publisher of The Guardian and The Observer, which has been battling losses in the face of the advertising downturn and a consumer switch to online news sources, said it was delighted to welcome his “considerable skills and broad range of experience” to its board. <br /><br />GMGsaid Neil Berkett had extensive experience of working at firms that are going through structural change, a quality that will be seen as useful given the challenges facing the publisher. <br /><br />While Virgin Media’s chief executive he has shifted the business’s focus from stealing market share from Sky to growing the average revenue made per customer.<br /><br />“GMG has long been a distinctive presence in the industry. I’m looking forward to working with Amelia and the Board to steer the group forward in a fast-changing and increasingly multimedia world,” Berkett said.<br /><br />He will join GMG chair Amelia Fawcett, a former Morgan Stanley executive, Lastminute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman and advertising agency guru John Bartle on the board.<br /><br /><strong>NEIL BERKETT <br />VIRGIN MEDIA</strong><br />New Zealander Berkett joined NTL as chief operating officer in 2005 and has been lauded for his role in merging the business with rival Telewest and re-branding the new company Virgin Media. He became chief executive of the firm in March 2008. Over a 25-year period he has worked across a broad range of companies. Prior to joining NTL, he was managing director of distribution at Lloyds TSB, chief operating officer at Prudential Assurance, head of retail at St George Bank, senior general manager at the Australian division of Citibank, chief executive of Eastwest Airlines Australia and financial controller of ICL Australia.