Grade makes first ITV appointment


LONDON -- Michael Grade has appointed former BBC head of strategy Carolyn Fairbairn as ITV's director of group development and strategy. The move marks Grade's first appointment since taking over as executive chairman of the commercial network.

Fairbairn, currently a partner at McKinsey & Co., will join ITV on March 5 and report to chief operating officer John Cresswell.

Fairbairn was a senior figure at the BBC for eight years, working under former director general Greg Dyke and current incumbent Mark Thompson, ultimately becoming director of strategy and distribution and a member of the management executive board.

She was involved in the development of digital platform Freeview, now the U.K.'s fastest-growing digital service with more than 7 million homes. Her other BBC roles included director of strategy for the corporation's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.

At ITV, she is expected to review the broadcaster's digital strategy and investment in such Web portals as Friends Reunited, as well as the positioning of its digital channels.

"Carolyn's arrival is welcome news for ITV," Grade said. "She has a high level of experience in broadcasting and new media platforms which will prove invaluable to ITV in this fast-moving competitive landscape."

Said Fairbairn: "ITV has been the No. 1 commercial broadcaster in the U.K. for the last 50 years. I'm very much looking forward to working with John, Michael and the rest of the management team to ensure that ITV retains its leading position in a multichannel, multimedia world."