Burdick takes chair at Bob the Builder

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The Independent Online

Charles Burdick, the former managing director of Telewest, was named yesterday as the new chief executive of HIT Entertainment, the children's characters company behind Bob the Builder.

Charles Burdick, the former managing director of Telewest, was named yesterday as the new chief executive of HIT Entertainment, the children's characters company behind Bob the Builder.

But the City was left somewhat unimpressed by the appointment, which followed the surprise ousting of HIT's previous chief executive Rob Lawes in October. Mr Lawes, a former finance director at HIT, left in the wake of a profits warning, with the board saying it wanted someone with more expertise of a creative media business.

Peter Orton, the founder of HIT and the outgoing chairman, insisted Mr Burdick was the "right man for the job". Before Telewest, Mr Burdick worked in the entertainment side of Time Warner. But he too is a former finance director, joining Telewest in 1996 and remaining as the company neared collapse under £5.3bn of debts.

After the ousting of Adam Singer in 2002, Mr Burdick took the helm and steered Telewest towards a financial restructuring that saw shareholders all but wiped out. He left in February after a reported dispute with bondholders.

Simon Davies, of ABN Amro, said: "Rob Lawes lacked industry experience. At least Charles Burdick worked for Time Warner and ran a FTSE 100 company, but then Telewest nearly went bust."

Mr Burdick will be paid about £400,000 at HIT. His salary at Telewest was about £500,000. HIT is still searching for a new independent non-executive chairman to replace Mr Orton.

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