Adam Crozier named chief executive of ITV

5:25 AM PST 01/28/2010 by Mimi Turner, AP

Head of Royal Mail and former boss of Football Association

LONDON -- ITV has appointed turnaround specialist and television outsider Adam Crozier to be its new chief executive in a move that looks likely to mean that director of television Peter Fincham remains in post.

Crozier, currently chief executive of the beleaguered Royal Mail postal group and a former head of the Football Association and chief executive of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, was not one of the candidates thought likely to end up with the job, ITV chairman Archie Norman conceded in a conference call.

But Norman insisted that Crozier was "by far the best choice of a strong field candidates" bringing to a close months of speculation.

The move has nonplussed some in the media industry, who view the announcement as "out of left field" but point to the solidity of a "heavyweight senior team" in conjunction with Fincham as ITV's content head.

"There are those who think that we should have been looking for a star broadcaster, but we have one already. We probably have more than our fair share of talent, what we need is someone who will be able to support them and lead a program of change," said Norman.

"We need someone who will execute on a strategy for change and will complete on new platforms, grow our international businesses, act as a magnet for talent and build out our strategy," he added.

Crozier will join the broadcaster "in the next few months" but will retain the services of acting chief executive John Cresswell until his departure from Royal Mail can be arranged.

By the time Crozier takes the helm, some believe that ITV could be a potential takeover target, with the forced sale of BSkyB's 17.9% in the commercial broadcaster thought to open it up to bids for the broadcaster.

Asked if Crozier planned to sell off ITV's production base, the chairman said there was "no such plan" and said he was unconcerned about the potential sale of BSkyB's 17.9% stake in ITV, saying "that is a decision for Sky."

ITV chairman Norman maintained that Crozier had transformed the Royal Mail from a loss making organization to a profitable business -- despite the fact the organization has been hit by industrial action in recent months.

Crozier declined to give details of his strategic plans but pledged to transform the business.

"I am very excited to be joining ITV -- a company with a great heritage and one of the best brands in the U.K. The entire media sector is going through enormous change and that presents both great opportunities and significant challenges for everyone in the industry. The objective for ITV is to rise to those challenges and put itself at the forefront of change. I am very much looking forward to working with the people at ITV and leading the transformation ahead."
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