Chisholm to relinquish BSkyB role

By CLAIRE BEALE, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 20 June 1997 12:00AM

Elizabeth Murdoch, Sky’s general manager, is expected to take a more senior role at BSkyB as Sam Chisholm, the chief executive, steps down for medical reasons.

Elizabeth Murdoch, Sky’s general manager, is expected to take a

more senior role at BSkyB as Sam Chisholm, the chief executive, steps

down for medical reasons.



Chisholm, who suffers from asthma, is to relinquish his post at the end

of this year, although he will remain a director of the company. He will

be replaced as chief executive from the beginning of next year by Mark

Booth, who is currently the chief operating officer of JSkyB, Sky’s

Japanese digital satellite venture.



However, many industry observers are speculating that Chisholm’s

departure would allow Rupert Murdoch to place more responsibility in the

hands of Elizabeth, his daughter. She is now tipped to take over as

Booth’s number two, with David Chance, Sky’s deputy managing director

and Chisholm’s right-hand man, also expected to step down.



Booth, a native of Kansas, was previously the chief executive of Foxtel,

the US’s leading pay-TV platform; the president of UIH Programming; the

chief executive of Maxwell Entertainment and was also responsible for

the launch of MTV Europe. His JSkyB venture is scheduled to launch next

spring.



Booth’s extensive experience in pay-TV is understood to have been

influential in his appointment.



Sky has already introduced pay-per-view sporting events into the UK but,

with pay-per-view movies also in the pipeline, pay-per-view will be an

increasingly important revenue stream for Sky.



Chisholm has presided over a dramatic turnaround in Sky’s fortunes. When

he took on the chief executive role in September 1990, Sky, having just

merged with BSB, was losing pounds 14 million a week. Last year the

company made a profit of pounds 315 million.


Chisholm explained: ’It’s no secret that I’m an asthma sufferer and my

doctors have advised me not to take on the next stage of BSkyB’s

development.’



Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corporation, which has a 40 per

cent stake in BSkyB, said Chisholm was ’one of the best executives I

have ever worked with’. He added: ’I have the highest regard for Mark

Booth.



BSkyB is an amazing company and Mark Booth will continue the company’s

success.’



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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