ITV topper Prebble ankles

Move triggered by collapse of Digital arm

LONDON — ITV chief exec Stuart Prebble has become the first top level casualty at the U.K.’s biggest commercial web after the demise of terrestrial paybox, ITV Digital.

Prebble ankled his position Thursday after almost year in the job, in which he oversaw both ITV and ITV Digital. Prior to taking up the role, he had been in charge of ONdigital, as ITV Digital was known before it was rebranded.

Prebble said his goal had been “to try to bring together ITV’s channels and platform businesses,” but that it now seemed “like an excellent moment to move on.”

The exec is seen by many as a scapegoat for the failure of ITV companies Carlton Communications and Granada to make a go of their joint venture platform, and that the main blame lies with Carlton chairman Michael Green and Granada chairman Charles Allen.

Prebble will be replaced by Mick Desmond, MD of Granada’s broadcasting division, and Clive Jones, chief exec of Carlton’s channels business. The two will serve as ITV’s joint MDs.

It is expected that Carlton and Granada will once again attempt to merge in the near future.