In a surprise move, the head of Granada America, David Gyngell, has quit to return to his former post as CEO of Oz’s Nine Network.
Gyngell’s departure is believed to have been prompted by the imminent arrival of ITV’s director of global content, Dawn Airey, who will oversee all the broadcaster’s activities outside the U.K., including Granada America.
The former Nine topper arrived at the Los Angeles-based Granada America two years ago, where he has helped build local production.
In a statement, Gyngell said he looked forward to “continued dealings with ITV” in his new role, which will begin in November.
Gyngell said: “I have really enjoyed my time at Granada America. ITV is clearly on the up; it has strong leadership in place and a clear vision for its future. Demand for ITV’s content and production expertise in the U.S. has never been greater and I know that Dawn will be a dynamic and inspirational leader.”
Granada America, whose hit “Hell’s Kitchen” has been renewed by Fox for a fourth incarnation, is key to ITV’s growth strategy. This involves increasing revenue by beefing up production in the U.K. and overseas.
Gyngell quit Nine after he complained about interference from Kerry Packer-controlled parent company PBL, but the web’s ownership structure has changed with private equity combo CVC emerging as majority stockholder.
The decision to leave in 2005 was a tough one for the exec who is not only the son of Bruce Gyngell, the first man to appear on Australian TV and a former Nine topper, but also a good friend of James Packer — and the late Kerry Packer’s godson.
In yet another U-turn, Nine Network had said earlier this year that it would not hire a new topper when on-air personality Eddie McGuire ankled in May.
It is unclear who will succeed Gyngell as ahead of Granada America, but his predecessor, Paul Jackson, now running ITV’s entertainment empire, is unlikely to want to return.