The Business On... Jeremy Darroch, chief executive, BSkyB
Friday 10 June 2011
The man waiting for the Murdochs to swoop?
If you're referring to the proposed News Corporation takeover of Sky, which is inching closer by the day, Mr Darroch isn't likely to be too worried. He's been at Sky for seven years, serving as James Murdoch's finance director until 2007 and then becoming chief executive when his boss moved upstairs to News Corp. It's fair to say the Murdoch swoop won't jeopardise his position.
So what's he up to while he waits for News Corp to arrive?
Spending more of Sky's money, actually. He's just announced a big increase in the budget Sky puts aside for original UK programming – it will spend £380m this year, increasing to £600m by 2014. That's almost twice as much as Channel Four.
Goodness, what delights does he have in store for us?
Everything from Stella, a new vehicle for Gavin and Stacey star Ruth Jones, to Hit and Miss, the story of a pre-op transsexual contract killer. That one stars Chloe Sevigny, before you start sneering. Mr Darroch wants to attack "the misconception that good outcomes only happen because they are ordained from above and enacted through some form of intervention".
What does that mean?
It's a dig at the BBC, the bête noire of the commercial television sector – and, often, the Murdochs.
So he's a chip off the old block?
Sort of, although everyone focuses on how different Mr Darroch is from James Murdoch. While his old boss is an Ivy League sophisticate, Sky's chief executive is a working-class lad from Northumberland who went to grammar school and then Hull University. He's still got the Geordie accent.
And what's next?
Well, let's see how the News Corpsituation turns out. But if Mr Darroch were to decide to seek pastures new, he wouldn't be short of offers. He's got stints at Dixons and Procter & Gamble under his belt and is a non-executive director at Marks & Spencer. And he doesn't turn 50 until next year.
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