U.K. TV giant ITV said Wednesday that CFO and COO Ian Griffiths has advised the company's board of his intention to retire in the next 12 months.
"The search for his successor will now commence, and Ian will continue with his existing responsibilities until a successor has been appointed," the company said.
He started his working career in 1988 with Ernst & Young before moving to the media group EMAP in 1994 where he held a number of roles. He joined ITV in September 2008 as group finance director and has played a key role in leading the turnaround of the company. In April 2017, he took on additional responsibilities and was appointed COO.
Liberum Capital analyst Ian Whittaker said in a first reaction: "The news will be seen as disappointing because he is highly regarded and is seen as having been instrumental in the turnaround in ITV's fortunes. However, we would not read anything negatively into the news."
He added: "Our view is that this is something he may have been thinking of for a while but, given the new CEO only started this year, that it was necessary to stay for several months to help with the strategy refresh."
Carolyn McCall, who took over as CEO early this year, said: "Ian leaves ITV in strong financial health. He has helped me steer the strategy refresh and will continue to be involved in embedding the implementation over the next few months. I and everyone at ITV will be sorry to see him leave, and we wish him all the very best for the future."
Added ITV chairman Peter Bazalgette: "Ian has been a key part of the management team that transformed ITV's performance. The strategy that Ian helped develop and deliver has created a strong platform for our future success and delivered real value for shareholders. On behalf of the board and our shareholders I would like to thank Ian for all he has done for ITV."
Griffiths himself said: "ITV is a brilliant business with superb people and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I am immensely proud of everything that we have achieved at ITV, not least in keeping the business together through the financial crisis and then delivering strong shareholder returns from 2010 onwards. I will be leaving a great team and a business in good shape. I wish Carolyn and the team all the very best as they continue to take ITV from strength to strength."