Granada Boss Survives AGM, Warns War Will Hit Adspend

20 March 2003

Charles Allen, chairman of Britain’s largest terrestrial commercial broadcaster Granada, survived Wednesday’s annual general meeting relatively unscathed by criticism from some of the group’s largest investors [WAMN: 17-Mar-03].

A quarter of Granada’s shareholders voted against the company’s fat cat pay policy for top executives, in particular its controversial two-year rolling contracts – of which Allen is among the beneficiaries. The norm among similar UK media groups is one year.

But forewarned is forearmed and Allen cannily defused the situation with his announcement that that the company’s pay policy will be addressed by an new remuneration committee after its merger with Carlton Communications – assuming always that the Competition Commission gives its blessing to the marriage, an outcome by no means certain.

Allen also warned that the war on Iraq, launched Wednesday night by the Bush and Blair administrations, could impact on sales revenues, some advertisers having already deferred spending plans until the situation becomes clearer. Nonetheless, Allen predicted that adspend in April is likely to exceed the same month in 2002 by between 3%-5%.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff