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18 November 2009

Former Tory MP Archie Norman to be new ITV chairman

Prolonged search for a replacement for Michael Grade comes to an end

By Staff Blogger

The former Conservative MP Archie Norman has been named as the new chairman of ITV, bringing an end to the seven-month search for a replacement for Michael Grade.

Norman, the former chief executive of Asda, will take up the post in January, when Grade formally steps down from the company.

He will be charged with turning round the fortunes of ITV, which has lost millions in advertising revenue during the recession and faces competition from an ever-growing number of multimedia rivals.

“There are few opportunities that would have tempted me back into the public company arena, but ITV is definitely one of them. It is an irresistible challenge, a great brand, a people business with enormous talent, but facing an imperative for change: the challenge of adapting to compete in a fragmented digital media world,” Mr Norman said.

“I don’t mind whether I am third choice or 51st choice. What interests me is whether I can do the job. ITV faces a great transformational challenge which is very much the sort of thing I like to do.”

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Grade said he was “delighted” to pass the position on to his successor.

“He inherits a company that is more popular and efficient than it has been for many years and I know he will build on that legacy,” he said.

Previous candidates for chairman included Sir Michael Bishop, former chairman of British Midland and of Channel 4, and Sir Crispin Davis, the former chief executive of Reed Elsevier, but both pulled out due to the level of media attention the race attracted.

ITV will now renew its search for a chief executive to replace Grade, who held a dual executive role. Chief operating officer John Creswell will serve as interim chief executive but will leave the firm when a permanent successor is appointed.

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