Ball out of ITV running?

Chris Forrester

It seems former BSkyB boss Tony Ball has ruled himself out of the top job at ITV although the background to the story is very confusing. Yesterday we reported his acceptance of a £60,000 directorship at British Telecom, and while his new non-exec role at BT would permit him a senior position at another company, it's thought that largesse would not extend to ITV. Which begs the question as to who might be up for the CEO position at ITV?

The background suggests that Mr Ball, tipped a hot favourite for the ITV position, has not formally applied through ITV's official headhunters, who are compiling a short-list of candidates. The BT invitation "pre-dates" the ITV discussions, it is reported.

The London ‘Times' on June 18 gave a very handy list of runners and riders which includes Guillaume de Posch, the ex-CEO at Pro7/Sat1 in Germany. Rupert Howell, MD at ITV Commercial, an insider, is also listed although the newspaper says he will be competing with another senior staffer John Cresswell (COO) for promotion. Bruce Churchill is another highly-regarded name in the frame. Churchill formerly ran Star TV in the Far East for News Corp before moving to DireTV in the USA.

Gerhard Zeiler, the current CEO at pan-European broadcasting giant RTL, is also named. He has a London home, and reportedly is "frustrated" at RTL, so the newspaper places him as an a 15-1 outsider. Finally, and a rank-outsider after his dismal ‘Digital Britain' White Paper performance (now dubbed "Dithering Digital" by some nastier commentators) is our old friend, Baron Carter of Barnes, who has worked in ad-agencies, PR agencies, Virgin Media and headed up Ofcom. The Times wisely puts him at 33-1.