Royal Mail chief Adam Crozier takes on ITV top job

Broadcaster ITV's hunt for a chief executive finally ended today after the firm turned to Royal Mail boss Adam Crozier.

ITV had been in talks with former BSkyB chief Tony Ball over taking on the job but discussions collapsed in September due to Mr Ball's pay demands.

Former Asda chief executive Archie Norman took over as the broadcaster's new chairman this month, replacing industry veteran Michael Grade.

The appointment ends a period of boardroom uncertainty at the business, which has suffered from an advertising slump in the recession.

Mr Crozier, who will take up the reins at ITV later this year, has been chief executive of Royal Mail for seven years and before that held the same role at the Football Association.

Mr Norman said the 46-year-old had a "thorough understanding of the media, advertising and branding industries" and showed his mettle by getting to grips with Royal Mail - where he earned almost £1 million in pay and bonuses last year.

"In his seven years at the Royal Mail, Adam has transformed the group from a loss-making organisation into a profitable business that last year doubled its operating profits to more than £320 million," he added.

Mr Crozier has managed the decline of traditional post, driven through the modernisation of Royal Mail in the teeth of fierce opposition from unions, which launched a wave of strikes last year.

Royal Mail chairman Donald Brydon said: "Adam has done and continues to do a remarkable job in leading Royal Mail through a major transformation in extremely difficult market circumstances."

Mr Crozier said ITV was "a company with a great heritage and one of the best brands in the UK".

"The entire media sector is going through enormous change and that presents both great opportunities and significant challenges for everyone in the industry," he added.

Mr Norman said the new chief executive's salary and package would be "in the normal range for a role of this scale and challenge".

He added: "We're not in the Tony Ball league - very far from it."

Despite the broadcaster's consideration of other candidates such as Mr Ball last year, the chairman said the board's decision on the appointment had been "unanimous and emphatic that he was by far the best choice".

He added: "He was my choice and he would have been my first choice if I had been chairman a year ago."

Mr Crozier's main task will be to lead a "change in culture and organisation as well as business direction" - including leading the shift away from its current dependence on free-to-air advertising in a fast-changing media landscape.

Mr Norman will give a further update on strategy in March's annual results.

The company will remain under the leadership of interim chief executive John Cresswell, who said in October that he would leave to seek a fresh challenge after the appointment and arrival of the new boss.

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