Peter Iacono said to be among ITV exits

More than 50 top managers are on the way out

LONDON -- ITV Worldwide president and managing director Peter Iacono is thought to be among more than 50 top managers at the broadcaster who began redundancy talks Thursday, following the news that it will cull 600 jobs to cut costs.

A spokesman for ITV confirmed that 51 of the network's 171 top managers are expected to leave the organization, but would not comment on any particular executives, saying only that consultation processes have begun.

Other executives thought to be on their way out include daytime head Adam McDonald, drama commissioner Victoria Fea and award-winning producer Sita Williams.

ITV staffers have been left reeling as redundancy consultations began Thursday, with job losses expected across broadcasting, program sales, drama production and the sports department as well as back-office operations.

"It's a very tense time here now," said one insider who has been tapped for redundancy.

Iacono, a well-liked executive, was hired to join ITV 15 months ago from Sony Pictures International by former production head Dawn Airey -- who quit ITV soon after to join Five. As head of distribution, he has lead international growth strategies for such shows as "Hell's Kitchen," "Lost in Austin" and "Come Dine With Me" and grown ITV's international co-production slate.

Iacono declined comment beyond saying that no decisions had been made. He is understood to be discussing his options, although friends say privately he already has made the decision to leave.

ITV executive chairman Michael Grade said Wednesday that the broadcaster would have to drastically cut headcount, shift primetime schedules toward lower-risk entertainment shows and axe company dividends to protect its financial stability as advertising revenue is forecast to be drop 15%-20% from last year.