Burt meeting with Dyke was not job interview, says ITV

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The Independent Online

ITV has admitted that the ousted BBC director general Greg Dyke has held talks with its new chairman, Sir Peter Burt, but denied that the meeting was a "job interview" for the post of chief executive.

ITV has admitted that the ousted BBC director general Greg Dyke has held talks with its new chairman, Sir Peter Burt, but denied that the meeting was a "job interview" for the post of chief executive.

Charles Allen's future as the chief executive of ITV was once again thrown into question when it emerged that Mr Dyke met Sir Peter for two hours of talks a fortnight ago.

A spokesman for ITV insisted that the talks were completely unrelated.

"They met at Apax's offices because Sir Peter has recently been appointed to the Apax board. There was another person in the room, Stephen Grabiner, for the entire meeting, and the conversation was absolutely not about ITV," the spokesman said. "Whoever is claiming it's a job interview is wrong."

Friends of Mr Dyke, who was forced to resign from the BBC following Lord Hutton's scathing criticisms, said he would be tempted only by a really big job in broadcasting.

The former director general has been tipped to take over from Michael Grade as the chairman of TV Corp, the producer of Question Time, and is also thought to be in the running to replace Lloyd Braun as chairman of Disney's ABC Network.

ITV insiders said Mr Dyke would be a popular choice to take over as chief executive. "Programme makers would love him, but just because he has met Sir Peter does not mean he has got the job," said one executive.

Mr Allen has come under increasing pressure from shareholders since Carlton and Granada merged to form a single ITV earlier this year, with criticism of his part in the failed ITV Digital project and of his pay packet, which could total £21m over the next four years.

When Sir Peter took over as chairman of ITV he publicly stated his support for Mr Allen, saying: "I would not have taken this job if I was not satisfied that Charles and I could work together and Charles had the skills and experience to do a good job."

Mr Dyke, who is writing a book about his experience at the BBC to be published by HarperCollins in September, is out of the country and was not available for comment.

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