ITV chief quits over digital debacle

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The Independent Online

ITV chief Stuart Prebble announced he was quitting today in the wake of ITV Digital's demise.

His decision to leave comes just a year after he took over the overall position of chief executive of ITV with a view to bringing together the various strands of the business.

Two of ITV's most senior broadcasting executives are now to become joint managing directors – Mick Desmond, managing director of Granada Broadcasting & Enterprises and Clive Jones, the chief executive of Carlton Channels.

The appointment of the two will be seen as a major step to unifying ITV which is made up of a number of licensees but dominated by Granada and Carlton.

The pair had been in merger talks although they recently ended.

ITV Digital has been in the hands of administrators for the past few weeks with more than a thousand jobs hanging in the balance.

The company has now handed back its licences and the Independent Television Commission has now begun the process of assigning them to a new venture.

Yesterday ITV Digital's pay TV channels went off air, although customers can continue to receive free–to–air services.

Prebble was formerly the chief executive of ONdigital which went on to be relaunched as ITV Digital. He became chief executive of ITV in April of last year with responsibility for ITV Digital, ITV's channels and ITV.com.

But with the end of his former company, he felt his present role was no longer there.

He said today: "I came back to the ITV Network Centre a year ago to try to bring together ITV's channels and platform businesses.

"Unfortunately that role is now not available, and this therefore seems like an excellent moment to move on.

"I want to thank the excellent team at ITV Digital and ITV Network. I leave ITV with some important challenges but a tremendous resource of talent and determination. I wish them well."

ITV said that its commissioning structure and networking arrangements were unaffected by the changes.

Prebble will leave ITV later this month.

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