Investors Irked at Top Jobs Backscratching as Murphy Quits ITV

22 October 2002

Unnamed major ITV shareholders are said to be up in arms at the mutual backscratching leading to last week's appointment of Michael Green and Charles Allen respectively as chairman designate and chief executive ditto of a merged Carlton Communications and Granada Media [WAMN: 17-Oct-02].

These two men, more than any other, the investors reportedly reason, are responsible for the current dire state of the network, the downward spiral of its audience numbers and the £1.25 billion ITV Digital debacle.

Although it is not yet known whether Green would occupy the ITV plc chair in an executive or non-executive capacity, investors are angry that the discredited duo will effectively control the fortunes of the merged company if competition regulators give it the green light.

Carlton and Granada will nominate three as yet unidentified non-executive directors to the new board, some if not all of whom will be chosen for their emollient effect on the the investment establishment.

Meantime, Gerry Murphy, chief executive of Carlton – seen by many as the most capable manager by far within the Carlton/Granada old guard – is to quit the company, The Telegraph reported Monday. Despite recent denials by Carlton [WAMN: 08-Oct-02] that Murphy had donned his hiking boots, he is to take the chief executive’s post at retail group Kingfisher, owner of 1,400 stores in seventeen countries, including the B&Q, Comet and Castorama chains.

Only two weeks ago, Murphy himself issued what can now be seen (with 20/20 hindsight) as a masterpiece of obfuscation that nevertheless remains within the boundary of truth: “I've not agreed to work anywhere else with anyone else,” he declared. “I’ve not asked for nor been offered any special terms to stay at Carlton. On the contrary, I'm fully engaged in Carlton's business as I have been since the day I arrived.”

Separately, it is widely believed that rival terrestrial broadcasters Channel 4 and Five will shortly lodge formal objections to the Carlton/Granada merger with the two relevant regulators, the Independent Television Commission and the Office of Fair Trading.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK) and; additional content by WARC staff