ITV Names Peter Bazalgette Chairman

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Peter Bazalgette

The industry veteran, a former chairman of Endemol UK, will start his non-executive role in May.

ITV has tapped media industry veteran Peter Bazalgette as its next non-executive chairman, starting May 12.

He will replace Archie Norman, who recently announced that he would step down at the 2016 annual shareholders meeting after more than six years on the job.

Bazalgette has been an ITV board member since June 2013. He also serves as chair of Arts Council England until January and as president of the Royal Television Society. He was formerly chairman of Endemol UK, where he created some hit formats.

"Sir Peter is one of the stalwarts of the U.K. TV industry — he has a vast range of contacts across the media and political space and was deemed to have done well as chair of Arts Council England," said Liberum Capital analyst Ian Whittaker.

Andy Haste, ITV’s senior independent non-executive director, said: “We went through an extensive and rigorous process to ensure that we found the best possible candidate to become the next chairman of ITV. Out of a strong field of candidates, it was very clear to us that Peter is the right person to take on the role and we’re delighted that he has accepted.”

ITV CEO Adam Crozier said: “It’s been great to have had Archie as part of the team over the last six years as we transformed the company into the international media business it is today. ITV is now clearly in a much stronger position creatively, commercially and financially than when we started out and we’re in great shape to take on the many opportunities and challenges ahead. I’m really pleased that Peter, with his huge wealth of experience in television and the wider creative industries, will be with us as chairman as we continue to grow and strengthen the business in the UK and internationally.”

Said Bazalgette: “As I have seen for myself over the last few years, ITV has gone through a remarkable resurgence during Archie’s chairmanship and there is still so much more that we can achieve. This is an incredibly exciting time for everyone in the media sector with change happening at an unprecedented rate, and I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Adam and the management team. TV is my first love.”

Analysts lauded the appointment. "Given his creative background, it plays into the idea that ITV is a major content provider (and possibly suggests a greater focus on boosting ITV's reality entertainment content)," he said. "It also suggests ITV believes less threat to its core free-to-air TV business (other options apparently included an ex-partner at McKinsey's, which would have pointed to ITV believing perhaps it needed a further look at structural change)."

And with the possible introduction of retransmission fees expected to be discussed this year, as well as possible changes to U.K. TV production rules that could benefit ITV, "his broad contacts and links with government will help," Whittaker said.