Charles Allen (49), the chief executive of Britain's largest commercial broadcaster ITV, will offer his resignation to the company's board next Monday, according to "friends" quoted in Thursday's The Guardian.

His departure, viewed in the wake of a remorseless 'death by briefing' campaign by US and UK financial interests, has all the inevitability of a Greek tragedy.

From the announcement of his appointment in the fall of 2003 as ceo-designate of the about-to-be merged TV giant, questions were asked as to whether Allen, an accountant by profession, had the intuitive insight to helm such a major populist venture.

These doubts have been exacerbated by the ongoing decline in ITV's programme ratings and ad revenues.

Allen's intention to end months of orchestrated speculation will open wide the floodgates of speculation about his successor. All manner of names are being bandied by those 'in the know' and those who know nothing.

Said to be among the potential runners are former BBC director general Greg Dyke, BSkyB's managing director of channels Dawn Airey, and Andy Duncan, the former BBC executive who now runs Channel 4.

But ears keenly attuned to the inside track have shortened the odds on Stephen Carter, until last month the outgoing ceo of UK media regulator Ofcom. They believe it not without significance that Carter brought forward the date of his departure by three months.

Nor that, since his days as ceo of NTL, Carter has been close to - and highly regarded by - powerful US interests known to be eyeing ITV.

Meantime, Allen has let it be known he is willing to remain at ITV until early in the new year in order to effect a smooth handover to his successor.

Fait vos jeux!

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff