ITV appoints new chairman

Archie Norman to replace Michael Grade at U.K. pubcaster

LONDON -- ITV has hired former Conservative party member and corporate turnaround specialist Archie Norman to be its next chairman.

Norman's appointment ends a six-month hiring process that had seen ITV's board humiliated as a number of high-flyers including former BSkyB CEO Tony Ball and Reed Elsevier boss Crispin Davies walked away from the chance of running the commercial broadcaster.

Norman, who has earned kudos in financial circles here for restructuring the U.K. supermarket group Asda, which was later sold to Walmart, as well as transforming failing energy supplier Energis, will take over as ITV chair in January, replacing Michael Grade.

"There are few opportunities that would have tempted me back into the public company arena, but ITV is definitely one of them," Norman said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

News of the appointment sent ITV shares up 7% at 55.4 pence (93 cents) in mid-morning trading.

Norman's first job will be to secure a chief executive who will be able take over the troubled commercial broadcaster, home to such shows as "X Factor" and "Emmerdale," which has suffered as both cyclical and structural issues have undermined its core advertising revenue.

ITV's shares have undergone a torrid market performance in the past 18 months, but a combination of a series of on-screen hits and improving financial markets have seen the shares gain around 35% this year, giving the company a market value of £2.1 billion ($3.5 billion).

Norman will be paid £300,000 ($504,000) annually in fees, the company said, and was allocated 1.2 million shares, which at today's price are valued at £642,000 ($1.1 billion). He will get 400,000 of these shares each year for the next three years.
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