LONDON — Disney’s Europe TV topper, John Hardie, is leaving the company to become CEO of U.K. news org ITN, supplier of news to ITV and Channel 4.
The surprise appointment — Hardie’s background is in the commercial sector rather than broadcast journalism — follows a successful eight years for Hardie at Disney, where he was exec veep-managing director of Walt Disney Television in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Hardie spearheaded the successful growth of Disney Channels, expanding the number of channels from seven to 26 and boosting profitability.
His responsibilities at Disney included roles as chairman of German TV channel Super RTL, a board member of RTL2 and chief exec of Jetix NV.
Hardie will join ITN in June in what’s a challenging time for the news org as TV revenues come under increasing pressure due to the downturn and structural changes.
Prior to joining the Mouse House, Hardie worked as ITV’s commercial director.
ITN is one of the three main TV news operators in U.K. alongside the BBC and Sky News. It is owned by ITV, Thomson Reuters Corp., United Media Business and Daily Mail & General Trust.
Giorgio Stock, the senior VP-general manager of Disney Channels Italy, will take over Hardie’s responsibilities.
Stock will relocate to London and report to Diego Lerner, president of Walt Disney Europe, Middle East and Africa.