C4 boss joins the race to back away from ITV job

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The role of chief executive of ITV is being treated by senior television industry figures with the sort of disdain associated with the grisly bushtucker trials in the channel's hit reality show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

Leading television executives were yesterday queuing up to publicly rule themselves out of the job as speculation grows over who will succeed the outgoing CEO Charles Allen, who announced his resignation earlier this month.

Andy Duncan, the Channel 4 chief executive, issued a statement to disassociate himself from the ITV post, after commentators had named him as a potential successor to Mr Allen, who took home £1.8m last year.

"There has been a lot of speculation about possible candidates for this role and I want it to be known that I will not be putting my name forward," said Mr Duncan. "In the event of a formal approach, I intend to make it clear that I do not wish to be considered for the post."

Mr Duncan, formerly the head of marketing at the BBC, has set in train a programme for strengthening Channel 4's position ahead of the switch off of the analogue signal in 2012. He has pledged his future to the channel for "some considerable time to come". He said: "Leading ITV through digital switchover will be a great challenge, but I'm already engaged in what I believe is a greater and more rewarding task - working with colleagues to secure Channel 4's future."

No sooner had the ITV headhunters had to scratch Mr Duncan's name from any shortlist than one of his predecessors as chief executive of Channel 4, Michael Jackson, also declared himself not interested in Mr Allen's job. The former BSkyB chief Tony Ball, had already said he did not wish to be considered.

Mr Allen, who will step down on 1 October, is due to give his thoughts on the state of ITV tonight when he delivers the MacTaggart Lecture to the Edinburgh International Television Festival. ITV's shareholders will be hoping that Mr Allen, who has denied that the flagship channel ITV1 is in decline, despite falling ratings, does not make his job sound any less attractive to potential successors.

The favourite is Stephen Carter, the former chief executive of the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. Other names thought to be under consideration include Mike Clasper, the former chief executive of the British Airports Authority; Dawn Airey, the current managing director of Sky's channels and services; and Greg Dyke, the former BBC director general.