ITV listens to shareholders

The Nominations Committee of the Board of ITV plc has terminated its discussions with CEO candidate Tony Ball, bringing to an end the speculation about a potential £30 million salary package.

In a regulatory news announcement published at 12:36pm today (25th Sept 2009) the Committee said that it had “negotiated exhaustively with Mr Ball, and throughout has been fully cognisant of, and responsive to, the views of its shareholders.”

The announcement flagged up just how massive the gulf was between each parties expectations as the company admitted “a number substantial differences, including a failure to finally agree contractual arrangements, together with a disagreement over the future Chairmanship.”

Some in the market appear to have been caught unaware by the revelation that ITV chairman Michael Grade will also be standing down from his role as executive chairman. The search for a replacement is said to be at an advanced stage and that an appointment will be made “in the near future”. Grade has confirmed that he will continue in post until his replacement is found.

There will be mixed views amongst investors, on the one hand this major media organisation is in a relatively unstable position without a cohesive management team to lead it forward; on the other there will be many who are breathing a collective sigh of relief that the board hasn’t taken the “new leader at any price” approach to solving its problems. We can probably expect to see this succession spat making it into the academic literature before too long.

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