Axa in call for Allen to go soon

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The Independent Online

Some shareholders and City analysts are urging ITV chief executive Charles Allen, who is expected to announce this week that he will leave the broadcaster, to go "sooner rather than later".

It is understood that Mr Allen is determined not to be hounded out of his job and wants to choose the date of his departure.

But Axa Investment Managers, which owns just under 1 per cent of ITV shares, said that he risked leaving the company "in limbo" if he delayed his departure.

"If ITV confirms that Charles Allen is leaving, we would much rather it happened sooner rather than later. Otherwise, if you say you are going to leave in x months' time, you put yourself and the company in a state of limbo," says fund manager Richard Marwood.

He added that former BBC director-general Greg Dyke, who led an unsuccessful private equity bid for ITV in March, would be a welcome replacement.

Anthony de Larrinaga, from investment bank Société Générale, said: "You would not want the business to be in limbo strategically, not when it has got significant issues with regard to audiences. If the current management remains in place, you should not expect much to change.

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