Former Mercury chief heads for Granada TV
Wednesday 27 March 1996
Confirmation of the appointment, expected next Tuesday, will coincide with the unveiling of a new management structure for Granada's television businesses, which include both Granada and London Weekend ITV companies.
Granada would not comment on the restructuring, but confirmed it would be addressing the staff of its television operations next week.
"We have no comment to make on internal or external candidates," Charles Allen, Granada's chief operating officer, said last night. Mr Lewis was unavailable for comment last night.
Mr Allen will become chairman of the television side next week when he takes over as group chief executive, Gerry Robinson, who currently holds that position, becomes group chairman, succeeding Alex Bernstein, who is retiring. Mr Lewis will report directly to Mr Allen, and in turn be responsible for the operating executives at Granada, LWT and the company's new cable and satellite arm.
A new name for the television operations will also be unveiled next Tuesday.
Mr Lewis, 45, left Mercury abruptly last September, after only nine months in the job. His departure shocked the City and the industry, as he had been credited with turning the telecoms company around. Mr Lewis was believed to have clashed with James Ross, then chief executive of Mercury's parent, Cable & Wireless, over the strategic direction of the group. It is thought that C&W had required Mr Lewis not to work in the telecoms industry for some months after he left.
Mr Lewis was also on the short list to become chief executive of Cable & Wireless after Mr Ross left in November. C&W was plunged into turmoil by a row between Mr Ross and Lord Young, then chairman, who also left the group. A successor for Mr Ross has yet to be announced.
Granada, which earlier this year clinched a pounds 3.8bn hostile bid for Forte, the hotels and restaurants group, is eager to underline its long-term commitment to television. Some analysts have suggested the Forte bid marked a shift away from the television and consumer equipment rentals interests which traditionally were the company's core.
The appointment of a telecoms executive underlines Granada's conviction that the communications and entertainment businesses are set for further convergence, following advances in technology.
In addition to the launch of satellite and cable services in the UK, the Government intends to encourage the development of digital terrestrial television and even video-on-demand services, offered via telephone and cable lines into homes and offices.
Many media analysts believe films and big sporting events could be soon be delivered by telephone on a pay-per-view basis, a prospect viewed as crucial to the long-term strategy of BT, the telecoms market leader.
Successful programme makers such as Granada are also expected to benefit from changes in the way entertainment is delivered to the consumer.
Mr Lewis's appointment may also be viewed as astute in the light of his experience running a company in competition with a dominant market player, in the form of BT. Granada has been eager to expand into cable and satellite entertainment services, a market currently dominated by Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB.
Hedging its bets, Granada recently unveiled a joint venture with BSkyB to launch five satellite channels, including a Granada Gold, dedicated to broadcasting hits from Granada's programme library.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 Prince Harry leaving the armed forced to pursue conservation projects in Africa
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
Leonard Nimoy dead: Star Trek Spock actor dies after suffering lung disease
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...