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Simon Shaps to chair NFTS board

Succeeds Michael Kuhn at National Film and TV School

LONDON -- Former ITV director of channels Simon Shaps is to succeed film producer Michael Kuhn as chairman of the board of the National Film and Television School, it was announced Monday.

Shaps will take over from Dec. 8 as part of a double appointment that sees Stephen Louis, media financier and founder of Enable Partners, replace "Big Brother" producer Peter Bazalgette as deputy chairman.

The government-funded NFTS, which counts "Wallace and Gromit" director Nick Park and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" director David Yates, among its alumni, is the leading film and television training school in the U.K., offering full and part-time training in such areas as animation, direction, post-production and cinematography.

Based in Beaconsfield in South West England, the school has upped its student intake by a third under Kuhn and Bazalgette's stewardship.

Shaps said his focus would be to maintain the school's standards of excellence and boost its funding and sponsorship opportunities.

"The school has an extraordinary reputation with its graduates working right across the film and television industries all over the world," said Shaps.

"The key challenge will be to maintain that reputation as funding gets ever tighter."

With more than two decades at ITV, the U.K.'s largest commercial broadcaster, Shaps has held roles including CEO of Granada's global production business and director of television, developing such shows as "Britain's Got Talent" and "Benidorm" for ITV1.

Since stepping down from ITV in 2008, Shaps has put together a portfolio of media-related businesses and chairs advertiser-led producer A Brand Apart, innovation company Ignite and Mercury Media, which he will chair from January 2010.