Ian Burrell: A history of rescuing ailing companies

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The Independent Online

Adam Crozier is not a telly type. He started out selling Pedigree pet food for Mars. And, just as the creative elements of the television industry never quite forgave the departing Channel 4 boss Andy Duncan for once having flogged Flora margarine, so they will be quick to remind Crozier of his shortcomings if he makes a dog's dinner of Britain's biggest commercial broadcaster.

Amid the shock at the hiring of the Royal Mail chief and former FA boss, jokes came thick and fast yesterday. "Expect them to start selling toasters and not broadcasting until 2pm." "I wonder if he will sign up Sven as head of sport?"

The quietly determined Crozier will have expected this, knowing that a recent ITV chief executive, Charles Allen, was derided for knowing more about running Granada's motorway services than a television network.

Archie Norman, who was recently appointed as the new ITV chairman after his success at Asda, chose Crozier because he too has a record in rescuing ailing businesses. ITV's announcement heralded Crozier as a "very strong leader" who had "transformed" Royal Mail into a profitable business. Norman later told journalists that Crozier possessed "the steely resolve we need at ITV". Crozier had shown that steeliness by cutting the FA's decision-making staff from 91 to 12, and overseeing thousands of job cuts at Royal Mail. Many at an already slimmed-down ITV fear the same.

Crozier, who was educated at a Falkirk comprehensive and once had trials for Hibernian FC, does have a media background, having worked in media sales at The Daily Telegraph before rising to become chief executive of the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi.

But someone who dislikes the spotlight – "I absolutely hate it" – now finds himself running the broadcaster of The X Factor. When Michael Grade arrived in his red braces to "rescue" ITV in 2007, the he was mobbed by delirious staff. Crozier, doubtless to his own relief, will receive no such reception.