ITV Plc unveils new management

Granada execs take top jobs at U.K. web

LONDON –- ITV’s biggest shareholders Carlton and Granada unveiled a new-look management team Friday that will lead the company through its £4.5 billion ($7.2 billion) merger, which was approved Oct. 7 by trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt.

Simon Shaps chief executive of Granada Content will head up the newly merged production division, Granada Production, spelling the end of Carlton’s name as a major brand on the network. It’s not clear whether the name will remain as a sub-brand.

As expected, ITV’s joint managing directors Mick Desmond and Clive Jones will head up the ITV Broadcasting Enterprises and ITV News Group respectively. Pair will report to Michael Green, chairman of Carlton and Charles Allen, chairman of Granada who will become chairman and chief exec of ITV Plc, respectively. Granada finance chief Henry Staunton becomes finance director while Granada commercial director Graham Parrot will take up the same position in the new company.

The six non-exec directors will work together as a steering committee to manage the unification of ITV Plc. Execs confirmed to the board are: former BSkyB deputy managing director David Chance; chief executive of HBOS, James Crosby; former Camelot chairman George Russell; Boots chairman John McGrath; former Disney chief Etienne de Villiers and former Lloyds TSB chief Brian Pittman.

While ITV Plc’s new board has an equal number of Carlton and Granada execs, the net’s new management team is made up of largely Granada staffers. The news will increase nervousness among Carlton staffers who are expected to make up the majority of the 300 redundancies.

Carlton and Granada have until Nov. 7 to satisfy the Office of Fair Trading that they can meet the conditions of the deal. To allay advertisers’ fears that ITV would fix prices, the Competition Commission is insisting its merged sales house sells airtime at guaranteed price levels, which would be discounted in line with year-on-year decline in TV ratings.