Bishop leaves ITV's search for a chairman in disarray

Chief operating officer to become temporary CEO, then leave when job is taken

ITV's search to fill the two most senior roles at the company took a fresh twist yesterday as it appointed a temporary chief executive but a second front-runner in a week ruled himself out as a candidate for chairman.

The broadcaster, which pulled in over 14 million viewers for The X Factor on Sunday, issued a statement updating the market on its search for a new chairman and a chief executive to replace Michael Grade. Speculation over the candidates for both roles has reached fever pitch in the wake of the collapse of talks between ITV and its preferred chief executive candidate, Tony Ball.

A series of heavy hitters have been linked with the chairman's role. Sir Crispin Davies, the front-runner and former chief executive of Reed Elsevier, ruled himself out last week. Sir Michael Bishop, founder of the airline bmi, has since followed.

ITV said yesterday that Sir Crispin and Sir Michael "both recently confirmed to the nominations committee of the board they are not candidates".

The committee has "revised its shortlist accordingly", ITV said, "and is continuing its search with all due speed". Others linked include Sir Christopher Bland, former chairman of BT, GlaxoSmithKline's chairman, Sir Christopher Gent, and Martin Broughton, chairman of British Airways.

The group has appointed John Cresswell, chief operating officer, as interim chief executive "to lead the company through the appointment and arrival of the next chief executive". His role will not start until the appointment of the new chairman.

After ITV failed to agree terms with Tony Ball, Mr Cresswell was among the favourites to take the job full time. Yet the broadcaster announced yesterday that after a full-time chief executive is found, he "then plans to leave to seek a fresh challenge".

Claire Enders, the founder of Enders Analysis, said: "There is a lot of sadness around John's decision to go. There is now a lot of talk that Peter Fincham will be the compromise candidate."

The joint search has led to question-marks over the handling of the situation by the ITV board, with talk that its composition could face a shareholder vote at an extraordinary meeting. "This is a very difficult, unusual and groundbreaking situation for a public company to find itself in," Ms Enders said.

ITV's shares rose more than 6 per cent yesterday after Goldman Sachs said that advertising trends in the UK television market are showing "signs of improvement" in the second half of the year. The shares were bolstered on talk that it could become an acquisition target. "In the medium term we continue to see plausible acquisition interest from RTL/Bertelsmann, which previously indicated interest in ITV to replace its Five channel which continues to lose audience share in the UK market," Goldman's analysts said.

The brokers noted that the "key downside risks" included a weaker than expected ad market and cost savings, and investments by a new chief executive, and added that the spectre of a rights issue is still in the background.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'