ITV Chief Hit By New Rumours of Shareholder Unrest

24 May 2004

Charles Allen's future as ceo of UK broadcast giant ITV has again been thrown into doubt after reports suggested shareholders are plotting measures against him.

A story in The Times late last week claimed a group of investors led by Anthony Bolton, a fund manager at Fidelity Investments, was planning to write to newly installed ITV chairman Sir Peter Burt to call for clear performance targets Allen would have to hit. Failure to do so would result in his dismissal.

Bolton -- known as the "quiet assassin" -- was behind the investor revolt that last year prevented Michael Green taking the ITV chair. It is thought he was keen to topple Allen at the same time.

However, the latest rumours were categorically denied by Burt on Friday afternoon. "I spoke to Fidelity today and they said there was not a shred of truth in The Times' story," the ITV chairman declared. "They confirmed that they have no plans to write to me."

It was also reported that Fidelity's letter would request details of a growth strategy for the broadcaster. To which Burt responded: "ITV has well defined objectives, targets and strategy which we expect will deliver real growth in the short, medium and long term."

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff