Departure of top two knocks BSkyB shares
Wednesday 18 June 1997
City analysts were nervous about Mr Chisholm's replacement, Mark Booth, who is currently chief operating officer of JSkyB, Rupert Murdoch's Japanese satellite operation. Mr Booth, who is 40, has been in his current position for less than six months. One analyst said: "Mark Booth has nowhere near the skills or reputation of a Sam Chisholm."
Another worried that Booth would be beholden to Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation, rather than the BSkyB shareholders. The analyst added: "This is a clear but subtle indication that Murdoch is seizing back managerial control of BSkyB. Sam Chisholm is responsible for the BSkyB share price. It is not immediately evident how Murdoch's track record in ruthlessly expanding his TV interests returns value to the shareholders in the medium term."
The changes leave the way clear for Elisabeth Murdoch, Mr Murdoch's 28- year-old daughter, to rise up the ranks of the satellite television operator. Speculation is mounting that she will take Mr Chance's role in January next year.
The timing of the announcement puzzled many in the industry, coming as it did only weeks before the Independent Television Commission's decision on the digital terrestrial television licences. BSkyB, in conjunction with Carlton Communications and Granada Group, has bid for the chance to control digital terrestrial television.
Mathew Horsman, media analyst at Henderson Crosthwaite, said: "This is the end of an era in British broadcasting. It's a bit of a double whammy for Sky to lose the chief executive and his deputy on the eve of the digital revolution." Another analyst, who declined to be named, commented: "This will have a dramatic impact. Sam Chisholm has been a clear driving force. Sky is going through a demanding period in the run-up and transition from analogue to digital. The company needs someone who has that absolute conviction."
But Derek Terrington, media analyst at Teather & Greenwood, said departures were fairly common in Murdoch's empire. He added: "Any multiple departure has to be a bit devastating but departures at News Corp are not unusual." Mr Terrington was less bothered than most about Mr Booth's appointment, saying he had confidence in Mr Murdoch's decisions on personnel.
Mr Chance, who joined BSkyB eight years ago, said that even though he has often been viewed as Mr Chisholm's heir apparent, he declined to be considered for the role. He added that Mr Chisholm will remain a director of the company and Mr Chance is to continue as a consultant.
Mr Chance emphasised that he would be helping BSkyB switch from analogue to digital, and denied that the news would unduly destabilise the company. He said: "Sky's future is tremendously exciting with the launch of the digital initiative." Meanwhile, he paid tribute to the chief executive's work at the company. "Sam has been instrumental in Sky's success story. He inherited a company losing pounds 14m a week at the time of the merger of Sky and BSB. It now has operating profit in excess of pounds 300m," he said.
It has been an open secret in the industry for some while that Mr Chisholm suffers from asthma, and would be forced to take a back-seat role sooner or later.
Sources say that Mr Murdoch came to London last week, and finalised the terms of Mr Chisholm's departure. However, Mr Chisholm is thought to have started discussions to negotiate his way out of his contract some months ago.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...