ITV investors furious over 'shambolic' hunt for CEO

Anger over collapse of talks with preferred candidate

ITV shareholders have reacted in anger to the collapse of its search for a new chief executive, called the situation a "total shambles".

One of ITV's largest shareholders was furious after the company terminated talks with the preferred candidate Tony Ball on Friday. The fund manager said: "It is an extraordinary display of incompetence by a fully listed company in the modern era; especially one that has not been noted for the success of its recent commercial judgement." He added: "The situation is a total shambles, the process has not been handled at all well."

The shares have fallen almost two-thirds since May 2007, and the manager said: "Investors should be allowed to be put out of their misery by BSkyB or some other suitable entity." BSkyB, which holds almost 18 per cent of ITV, would not comment on the situation.

Insiders at ITV hit back, saying the issues arose from Mr Ball's side. "The company found it very difficult to run the process, when every step of the way was played out in the media by one of the candidates. ITV did everything to keep the process quiet," one said.

Euan Stirling, a fund manager at Standard Life, which has a small shareholding in ITV, called the situation "a bit of a mess" blaming the company's decision to appoint Michael Grade as executive chairman, a role that combined a traditional chairman with chief executive. "It highlights the importance of board structure. ITV went into this with a combined role of chief executive and chairman and the mess that they are in at the moment just highlights the danger of that," he said.

Mr Stirling said: "When you have so much power concentrated with one individual, when that individual decides to go it does leave a bit of a vacuum at the top. It emphasises how important it is to have independent and strong characters in the roles of chief executive and chairman. It's important for two strong characters to be foils for each other."

The source close to ITV added that the process had been run by the nominations committee and not Mr Grade. "ITV will do its best to keep the process to find a new chairman and chief executive completely private."

The broadcaster pulled out of talks with Mr Ball, a former chief executive of BSkyB, on Friday after he asked for a pay packet worth £42m over five years, while the company was only prepared to go to £25m. The deal-breaker is understood to have come with Mr Ball's demand to have a veto over the company's choice of chairman to replace Mr Grade when he leaves later this year.

Names linked with the chairman's job include Sir Crispin Davis, the former chief executive of Reed Elsevier, Sir Michael Bishop, who set up BMI, Sir Christopher Gent, chairman of GlaxoSmithkline and Sir Christopher Bland, former chairman of BT.

Suggested Topics
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trade Desk Specialist (Linux, Windows, FIX, Finance, Networks)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (Linux, Windows, FIX...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Project Manager - ETRM/CTRM

£70000 - £90000 per annum + Job Satisfaction: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...

C#.NET Developer

£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL,MVVM, SOA...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform