ITV's new chairman pledges overhaul

Search for new chief executive is top of the list of priorities for Archie Norman

Archie Norman has made his first declaration of intent after taking over as chairman of ITV, calling for an overhaul of the broadcaster and warning that "'no change' is not an option".

Mr Norman sent a memo to the broadcaster's staff on Tuesday, a day after moving into his new office in the ITV building on London's South Bank, "to outline how we intend to work as a leadership team in the months ahead".

He didn't mince words, warning that ITV "cannot remain as it is". Mr Norman warned staff: "'No change' is not an option. We need to be a very different business in three years' time." The new management, he added, was "now embarking on a programme to accelerate the transformation of ITV". As part of the move, Mr Norman unveiled a strategic review to start this month.

Mr Norman's first task is to find a new chief executive for ITV. A troubled search process to find a replacement for executive chairman Michael Grade, whose role was split into two, saw talks in September with favoured candidate Tony Ball, the former chief executive of BSkyB, collapse at the 11th hour.

Paul Richards, an analyst at Numis Securities, said: "Archie Norman can't really start looking at significant changes to the company until ITV has appointed a chief executive. Once that has been done, they can get on with the strategic review."

Mr Norman is understood to be "getting on with it" but is anxious not to play the process out in public. John Cresswell remains the acting chief executive, although he has ruled himself out of the running for the permanent position, and will quit the group when a successor is found.

The broadcaster surprised the market when it appointed Mr Norman in November, though the move was slightly overshadowed by the appointment of Marc Bolland as the incoming chief executive of Marks & Spencer on the same day. Mr Norman, a former Tory MP and chief executive of Asda, was appointed by ITV after other high-profile candidates including former Reed Elsevier chief executive Sir Crispin Davis and airline operator BMI's former chairman Sir Michael Bishop ruled themselves out of the running.

Mr Richards said the new chairman has "an awful lot of 'to dos' in his in-tray" even after he appoints a new CEO. "ITV is a producer-broadcaster, and there is some speculation it could sell off its production business or establish a joint venture with a third party."

Another issue that has been floated by analysts is the possibility of changing the model away from a solely free-to-air business. "ITV may look at moving to a hybrid structure," Mr Richards said. "It could keep the main channel free, and possibly move ITV2, 3 and 4 on to the BSkyB platform."

The issue of selling non-core assets is likely to be back on the agenda. ITV failed to sell its SDN digital arm last year but "could well try again" as conditions improve, Mr Richards said.

ITV ended the year on a high as Mr Cresswell revealed that advertising revenues grew for the first time in 18 months, bolstered by shows including X Factor. Mr Norman noted the upturn but cautioned: "We are not out of the woods yet and 2010 looks like another difficult year."

The rise in advertising revenues and measures to curb costs mean that one move is probably not on the agenda. "About half a year ago, it was a racing certainty that if a chief executive had been appointed, he would have to raise money," Mr Richards said.

"Now, following an upturn in advertising and good work from ITV's finance department, they probably aren't going to have to."

No change is not an option: Archie Norman's email to ITV staff

Dear colleague,

Having arrived at the beginning of the month as chairman I wanted to say "hello" and also outline how we intend to work as a leadership team in the months ahead.

I will be based in our open plan office on the 17th floor of the ITV building along with my PA, Barbara Kyriakou. John Cresswell is acting as chief executive as has already been announced, and will continue to provide executive leadership for the business. We have a good team in place and will be pushing ahead with our plans for the business without pause in the months ahead. At board level we have already made changes and enter the new year with a streamlined, high calibre and dedicated board.

We ended 2009 on a bit of a high with some great programming successes. I think it is important that we all recognise that we are not out of the woods yet and 2010 looks like another difficult year. GMTV has now fully joined the family and we need to ensure we keep what is special about their operation, and support the team to make it even better. More broadly we need to continue to improve our content whilst living within our means on costs. The last few months have shown that when we produce great entertainment we can outperform all the competition.

At the same time we know that ITV cannot remain as it is. "No change" is not an option. We need to be a very different business in three years' time. Our objective is to recreate the business so it can not just survive but prosper in the new media world. Therefore, we are now embarking on a programme to accelerate the transformation of ITV. As part of this I will, with the executive team, be launching a strategy review this month to define the journey ahead. We will build on our strengths, the ITV brand, great content, innovation and creativity to become once again a growth business. You will hear more about this in the months to come.

I am keen to get to know you all better and to hear your thoughts on how we are doing and what we can do better. I will try to meet as many colleagues as possible but if you have an idea you want to share please email me or drop me a line.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Happy New Year!

Archie

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
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

Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

1st Line Support Technician / Application Support

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices