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Granada chief Morrison ankles

Chairman Allen takes control

LONDON — Granada chief exec Steve Morrison has confirmed that he is ankling the ITV company (Daily Variety, Aug. 13).

The industry vet, who has been with Granada since 1974, will step down at the end of September, becoming the second top ITV exec – after ITV chief exec Stuart Prebble – to exit in the wake of the failure of ITV Digital, Granada and Carlton Communications’ defunct joint venture paybox.

Instead of replacing Morrison, Granada chairman Charles Allen will now take greater control of the company. Granada has also appointed George Russel, the one-time deputy chairman of Channel 4, to the post of vice chairman.

Allen is known to be keen on the long-anticipated merger of Granada and Carlton. He said the management shakeup helped position Granada to “take advantage of consolidation and other opportunites made possible through new legislation,” refering to the U.K. government’s plans to relax media ownership restrictions in Britain next year.

The creation of a single ITV company would be of benefit to both Granada and Carlton, who together invested £1.1 billion ($1.7 billion) in ITV Digital, and continue to suffer the downturn in the British TV advertising market.