Former ITV Bidder Nominates Self as CEO Candidate

16 August 2006

In the wake of Charles Allen's leveraged decision to resign as ceo of ITV, Britain's largest commercial broadcaster, there are curious rustlings in the attic. It's not mice, bats or even woodworm - but wannabe TV tycoon Roger Parry (53), a one-time BBC journalist.

These days a man for all seasons, Parry is apparently dissatisfied with his day jobs as chairman of Johnston Press, magazine group Future and telecoms music content provider Mobile Streams. Evenings and weekends, he finds time to play the role of chairman at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Trust in London.

Back in April he declared a formal interest in bidding for ITV - an unsuccessful ambition which, to quote Hamlet, was "full of sound and fury/signifying nothing".

Nonetheless, there is speculation within UK financial circles that Parry may revisit his takeover plans in October when a six-month Takeover Panel restriction expires. Says he: "As far as any offer is concerned, nothing has changed since April."

In the interim, he has shyly let it be known that he is not averse to accepting the role of chief executive of ITV were it offered on the right terms.

"I wouldn't be interested in pursuing Charles's strategy," Parry proclaims. "ITV became completely obsessed with regulation and cost-cutting. What they have got to focus on is programming and selling airtime."

However, it seems that ITV is not agog at the prospect of hiring Parry, who confided to the Financial Times on Tuesday that he had not been contacted either by ITV chairman Sir Peter Burt or the broadcaster's headhunting firm.

Adopting an insouciant stance that Shakespeare's Sir Andrew Aguecheek would envy, Parry told the FT: "It's up to Peter Burt whether I'm a candidate or not."

Meantime, around London's media parish pump speculation is flowing faster than unwooded Chardonnay.

Heading the bookies' list of potential fits for Allen's chair are former Ofcom ceo Stephen Carter; Channel 4 ceo Andy Duncan; his predecessor at C4 Michael Jackson; and BSkyB's managing director of channels Dawn Airey.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff