Wednesday, March 11 2009,

Speculation is mounting that investors in ITV may insist that Michael Grade step down from his role as executive chairman of the broadcaster in the event of a capital-raising rights issue.

When Grade was appointed in 2006, he announced there would be no new CEO at the broadcaster "inside two years". ITV's board said that Grade would step back from day-to-day operational matters and appoint a chief executive towards the end of a three year period.

Rumours that ITV may have to launch a rights issue to plug a potential funding gap sent shares in the broadcaster to a record low yesterday. They have since come off the all-time low of 16.5p but remain far off the 52-week high of 70.2p.

The Financial Times said that discussions about a rights issue are at "a very early stage" and that ITV hopes to avoid executing such a manoeuvre "through cost savings and asset sales".