The UK's largest commercial broadcaster, ITV plc, has still to appoint a chairman three weeks after its launch as an integrated entity on the London Stock Exchange.

The new company, born from the merger of Carlton Communications and Granada, had originally slated the former's chairman Michael Green for the job, only to run into a barrage of opposition last fall from major institutional shareholders in both companies. Green accordingly walked the plank.

Since when there has been much behind-the-scenes politicking and speculation as to his successor. Finally, over the weekend two heavyweight names emerged as frontrunners for the job: John Gardiner, chairman of the UK's largest supermarket group Tesco; and Sir Peter Burt, former deputy chairman of international banking giant HBOS.

Neither man has a molecule of hands-on knowledge of the TV business -- but both pack a high-octane personal phone book that could double as a Who's Who of the City of London and Wall Street.

Gardiner (67) is due to stand down from Tesco next month after sixteen years on its board. He is also a former chairman of the engineering group Cammell Laird and has sat at the boardroom tables of 3i, Powergen and Enterprise Oil.

Burt (59) is a career banker, much admired by the monetary demi-monde for his stint at the helm of Bank of Scotland, which in 2001 merged with Halifax making big bucks for all concerned.

The winner is expected to be announced later this week when ITV unveils its fifteen-month fiscal results to December 2003, thereby bringing the two companies' year-end into line.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff