HMV, Apple execs top ITV shortlist

Simon Fox or Pascal Cagni could replace Michael Grade

LONDON -- Shares in ITV soared 10% to 41 pence (67 cents) Wednesday on speculation that HMV chief executive Simon Fox and Apple Inc.'s European head Pascal Cagni are heading the shortlist to replace outgoing chief executive Michael Grade.

ITV could be poised to make an announcement about its CEO at next week's half-year results on Aug. 6, although some sources suggest that the announcement is more likely to be in September.

Neither Fox -- who has been responsible for revamping of music and DVD retailer HMV through online downloads and live events -- nor Cagni -- a London-based Frenchman with experience of the digital world that ITV has struggled to understand -- have any experience of the broadcast sector, but both are regarded as turnaround specialists.

Other executives thought to be on the list are former BSkyB chief executive Tony Ball, former ProSiebenSat1 chief executive Guillaume de Posch and BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith.

ITV appointed international headhunters Russell Reynolds earlier this spring following Grade's decision to step down following shareholder disappointment over his performance, during which ITV's share price has fallen by two-thirds.