Wannabe Chairmen Queue as Granada Investors OK ITV Merger

14 January 2004

Granada shareholders on Tuesday rang down the curtain on Britain's first commercial TV broadcaster. The occasion, however, was more celebration than wake as company investors voted overwhelmingly in favour of its merger with fellow ITV titan Carlton Communications.

Wiping a token tear from his wallet, Granada chairman and ITV ceo-designate Charles Allen, called the company's valedictory general meeting "a poignant moment".

He also touched on the beauty parade to find a chairperson for ITV plc when its merger is completed on February 2 -- the date on which the melded company's shares are scheduled to begin trading.

The role of chairman had originally been slated for Carlton boss Michael Green in what many investors saw as a cosy and unacceptable carve-up between the companies' boards. This triggered an unusually public bout of pec-flexing among major institutional shareholders, resulting in Green's reluctant plank-walk last year [WAMN: 23-Oct-03].

Announced Allen: "The nominations committee led by Sir Brian Pitman [acting chairman of ITV plc] are meeting a number of candidates and have started the interviewing process. We are hopeful that a timetable of February or March will be achieved."

A shortlist of six has been drawn up, some of whom are broadcast-industry outsiders. The rumour-mill is in overdrive, with names such as former Orange boss Hans Snook, Vodafone's Sir Christopher Gent and ex-Tesco chairman Lord Ian MacLaurin being bandied around EC2 watering holes.

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff