Pounds 750,000 job deal for ITV network chief

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The Independent Online
MARCUS PLANTIN, who once packed prizes for The Generation Game, has been chosen as ITV's first network director, the most powerful creative job in ITV. He will be in charge of the commissioning and scheduling of pounds 500m worth of programmes each year.

Mr Plantin, 46, director of programmes at London Weekend Television, has a reputation for being tough, shrewd, and picking successful shows. He joined LWT eight years ago after working for the BBC as a light entertainment producer. He brought Blind Date to television and developed new comedy stars such as Hale and Pace. He is just as proud of his association with the innovative Friday Night Live and Saturday Night Live alternative comedy shows that LWT made for Channel 4 in the 1980s.

Mr Plantin has had to be paid substantial compensation for being wooed from LWT, because he was awarded 85,227 LWT management shares in a controversial 'golden handcuff' deal when the company was fighting to retain its franchise in 1989-90. Under the deal, if the LWT shares, issued at 88p, had reached 279p on the Stock Exchange by October 1993, he could have received about pounds 1m. The ITV companies and London Weekend Television are sharing the cost of compensating him for this loss, and are believed to be making a payment estimated at 75 per cent of the pounds 1m. His new annual salary will be about pounds 200,000.

At a surprise press conference yesterday, Mr Plantin deflected questions about his financial package, saying: 'My parents always taught me it was very, very rude to talk about money.'