Investors backing Ball for ITV

Chris Forrester

Rapid TV News placed former BSkyB boss Tony Ball into a list of possible new ITV CEOs a week ago. It has now emerged that a group of major ITV investors is firmly backing Ball, and that his involvement was one of the reasons why Michael Grade agreed to step aside.

“Tony is cautiously interested in the opportunity," one person close to Mr Ball said this weekend, to the London Daily Telegraph. The newspaper reported that Mr Ball was canvassing further investor support before engaging in formal talks with ITV, the UK’s main commercial broadcaster.

Ball, 52, is on the Board of Kabel Deutschland and is well-known as a highly energetic executive. He worked for BSkyB for 4 years, leaving in 2003 with a departure pay-off of £10m.

One obvious problem for Ball is his lack of programme-making skills, given that Sky is largely a packager of content. However, the ITV Board is seen as having tried that approach with Michael Grade with only limited ratings success.