Five chief knew exit imminent

Broadcaster accepts Lighting's resignation

LONDON -- Five channel chief executive Jane Lighting had been formally told she would be replaced by Dawn Airey "well ahead" of ITV's announcement of the shock move, pan-European television group RTL said Thursday.

Rejecting widespread reports in the media, including on THR.com, that Lighting had to find out from the media, Oliver Herregesell, RTL executive vp corporate communications and marketing said Lighting was fully aware of the planned changes.

"Jane Lighting was informed by RTL chief executive Gerhard Zeiler well ahead of ITV breaking the story to the media," he said.

Five issued a statement Thursday saying it had accepted Lighting's resignation and she would go Friday.

Lighting said: "Sometimes in business, situations occur where a common agreement over strategic direction can't be reached and, unfortunately, on this occasion my vision for Five differs to that of RTL Group, the channel's owner. It is for this reason I have decided to step down. I believe that the decision is in the best interests of the company. We part on good terms and I certainly wish Five the greatest success in the future."

Zeiler said: "RTL Group is very grateful to Jane Lighting for her great achievements during her time as chief executive of Five. In a highly competitive and rapidly changing market, she led the broadcaster into profitability, kept the audience share stable and increased Five's share of advertising revenues."
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