Former Tory MP is new chairman of ITV

Author: By Kelly Macnamara, Press Association

Mr Norman – who used to head up supermarket chain Asda – will take up the role
in January, when Mr Grade will bow out.

Mr Grade said he was “delighted” to pass the position on to his successor.

“He inherits a company that is more popular and efficient than it has been for
many years and I know he will build on that legacy,” he said.

Mr Norman described the position as “an irresistible challenge” and said the
broadcaster, which has faced a precipitous advertising slump in the
recession, was “facing an imperative for change”.

“There are few opportunities that would have tempted me back into the public
company arena, but ITV is definitely one of them,” he said.

“Thanks to Michael Grade’s remarkable work the company has come through the
worst advertising recession for decades and now has a strong platform to
embrace that challenge.”

ITV had been mired in a leadership crisis as it struggled to replace Mr Grade,
who holds a dual executive chairman role.

The high profile hunt began with the aim to appoint a chief executive, but was
changed after talks with former BSkyB boss Tony Ball collapsed.

Sir James Crosby, who led the search for the firm, announced that he would
resign from the board as soon as his successor was appointed.

Chief operating officer John Cresswell has already agreed to become ITV’s
interim chief executive in January, but will leave the firm when a permanent
chief executive is appointed.

Mr Norman was a member of a three-strong team that established and built
Kingfisher in the 1980s to become Britain’s leading general merchandise
retailer.

In 1991 he moved to Asda to lead a turnaround as chief executive. Over the
following eight years the business was turned into the second largest
supermarket group before being sold to Wal-Mart.

Mr Norman also acquired Energis, Britain’s third largest telecoms business, on
behalf of creditor banks and over three years rebuilt the business before
agreeing a sale to Cable and Wireless.

Mr Norman said people “should not read anything into” his methods at previous
firms.

“ITV is a very different business from the ones I have worked in in the past
and I absolutely do not think that a formulaic approach is going to work,”
he said.

He said his time with the Conservatives meant he “knew a lot of people in
public life” across the party divide, but rejected suggestions that his
former political affiliations might cause concern.

“I am not expecting any favours from any political party and I certainly don’t
see any conflict at all,” he said.

Mr Norman declined to say whether a new headhunter would be assigned to
continue the quest for a chief executive.

But he said: “We will start afresh a proper chief executive search. I don’t
expect to have any news on that for quite some weeks.”

He listed the best programmes on ITV as X Factor, car crash drama Collision
and football.

Mr Norman’s remuneration will be made up of a combination of fees and shares.
He will be paid £300,000 a year, as well as £636,000-worth of shares at
today’s value. He will receive 400,000 of the shares each year for the next
three years.

Earlier this month ITV said group revenues were £1.3 billion in the nine
months to September 30, against £1.47 billion a year earlier. The firm is
aiming for £155 million of cost savings in 2009.

The broadcaster showed an increased optimism and said there were signs of
stabilisation in the UK television advertising market.

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