Ratings fall: Carter goes from ITV contender to PR man

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Stephen Carter, the former media regulator who had been tipped to be the next chief executive of ITV, is to run the City PR firm Brunswick.

Last week ITV announced that Michael Grade, the chairman of the BBC, had landed the job to run the commercial broadcaster. Mr Carter, 42, had been the bookies' favourite for the post - one of the highest profile jobs in British business - until the surprise news that Mr Grade had got it. Mr Carter said part of the reason he was attracted to Brunswick, where he will be chief executive, was that it was a private company, which would allow "more freedom in making investment decisions and more privacy".

He declined to comment on ITV, but said he had been in talks with Brunswick since June. "By definition, this is a job in a smaller business [than ITV] but whether it is a smaller job is a different question... I would say that it's not," he said.

Mr Carter's appointment will allow the founder and majority owner of Brunswick, Alan Parker, to concentrate on client work, rather than running the business. Mr Parker, chairman of Brunswick, said: "Our clients demand the very best communications capabilities wherever we operate. Stephen's appointment will help the group as we increase our services as well as our international reach."

Mr Carter was chief executive of the media regulator Ofcom for three years until this summer. He estimated that, at Brunswick, he would spend about 80 per cent of his time running the business.

Among Brunswick's clients in the media and telecoms sectors are NTL, Reuters, Reed Elsevier, SMG, Emap, EMI, Time Warner and the mobile operator 3. Clients in other industries include Barclays Bank, AstraZeneca and Rolls-Royce. It has 21 clients in the FTSE 100 index. Mr Parker started the business in 1987, and has built it into the biggest UK financial PR group, with 50 partners, 350 employees and 11 offices in eightcountries.

Brunswick denied that the appointment of Mr Carter to what is a new position signalled any intention to sell or float the business.