Carlton non-executives rule out wave of mass resignations

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There will be no mass resignations from the remainder of the Carlton board and none were ever offered, according to John McGrath, one of the company's directors.

Mr McGrath, the Carlton non-executive director who was the most vocal supporter of the company's chairman Michael Green, yesterday met with Charles Allen, the chairman of its merger partner Granada. The meeting had been billed as an opportunity for the two sides to "bury the hatchet", after Granada sided with the shareholder group, led by Fidelity, that fought the plan to have Mr Green as chairman of the merged company.

It is understood the meeting was "straight-forward, with no drama". Mr McGrath updated Mr Allen on his talks with Fidelity, held after Mr Green finally gave in to shareholder demands on Tuesday.

There has been speculation that the trio of Carlton non-executives, including Mr McGrath, who are supposed to serve on the board of the merged company will not take up this position. It was also reported that the three Carlton non-executives tendered their resignations on Tuesday, following the ousting of Mr Green, who they all strongly backed.

Mr McGrath, the former chairman of Boots, declined to comment on his meeting with Mr Allen. But he made it clear he intended to join the board of the merged company. He said that he and the other non-executives at Carlton had had not tendered their resignations. "There will be no mass resignations," he said. "It's pretty simple. As a non-executive, I'm not here to represent Carlton or Granada. I'll be taking an independent view."

Mr McGrath added that there was no on-going "bitterness" over the dramatic clash between Carlton directors and shareholders. "We just felt that we are quite a competent bunch of non-executives, a top group of people to hold a view on this, not a board of lame ducks," he said.

Mr McGrath said he did not expect to see a Carlton executive director given any position on the merged board. Following the removal of Mr Green, the "Carlton side" will have no executive representation on the ITV plc board. The chairman will be an external appointment.

There had been some speculation that a member of the current Carlton management may be "bumped up" to the main board of the new company. Insiders had suggested that Clive Jones, Carlton's head of television, may be elevated. That does not now appear to be likely.