Granada sharpens the axe for LWT

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GRANADA yesterday confirmed it would be taking an axe to the support operations of Granada TV and LWT, the London weekend broadcaster it acquired following a bitter hostile bid earlier this year, writes Gail Counsell.

It plans up to 200 redundancies in finance, administration and support departments over the next nine months as it merges the two operations, although it refuses to spell out how job losses will be shared between Granada and LWT.

But the dominance of the Granada team in a series of top-level management changes, part of an organisational restructuring following the merger of the two broadcasters, is clear.

Steve Morrison, managing director of Granada Television, becomes managing director at LWT. Andrea Wonfor, Granada's director of programmes, and Jules Burns, Granada's director of programme and management services, become joint managing directors of Granada Television.

Mike Southgate, managing director of LWT's The London Studios, becomes deputy managing director of LWT. He will be the sole survivor of the LWT directors named on its 1991 licence application once Sydney Perry, chief executive of Granada/LWT International, retires shortly.

One senior LWT departure will be Robin Paxton, managing director of broadcasting. Granada said when it developed its new structure it had become clear that there was no role suited to Mr Paxton's seniority, experience and skills.

Granada stressed there were no plans to make cuts in programme- making staff. The two stations will keep independent production capabilities.

During the bid for LWT, analysts estimated savings of pounds 8m- pounds 10m from merging support operations. Gerry Robinson, chief executive of Granada, would not say how much the cuts would save.