Media Lifeline: Mick Desmond

Once looking like an ITV lifer, Desmond now finds himself at that other British bastion: the All England Club.

SEPTEMBER 2005: Having been at ITV man and boy (he joined HTV in 1981), Mick Desmond, now ITV's chief executive of broadcast and enterprises, is ousted in the "night of the long knives" by the ITV plc chief executive, Charles Allen, following a review of sales strategy.

MARCH 2006: In November 2005, Desmond had been appointed as the non-executive director of Avanti Screen Media, a company providing point-of-sale advertising screens to retailers. The following March, there's speculation that he has plans to set up an advertiser-funded content business with the former Mindshare chief executive Simon Rees. Instead, Rees joins Avanti.

OCTOBER 2007: In September 2006, Desmond had been named as the executive chairman of Channel Television, the ITV franchise (though not ITV-owned) covering the Channel Islands, with offices in Jersey, Guernsey and London, reporting to David Fordham, the group media director of Channel TV's owner, Yattendon Investment Trust. Now, Desmond also founds IPCN, a TV and sports rights distributor focusing on the Chinese market.

JUNE 2009: Following a restructure at Avanti, both Desmond and Rees (non-executive chairman and chief executive respectively) depart. The company was already struggling and eventually, in November, Avanti calls in the administrators.

FEBRUARY 2010: Sport, however, continues to be a theme in his latest venture, as he is unveiled as the commercial director of the All England Club. Reporting to the chief executive, Ian Ritchie, Desmond's new role combines the positions of director of television (in other words, he is charged with getting an appropriate deal for the Wimbledon Championships broadcast rights) and director of marketing.

FAST FORWARD: April 2010 Desmond unveils a groundbreaking broadcast deal for the Championships. In future, UK coverage of the earlier rounds is to be split between Sky and ESPN with terrestrial broadcasting (ITV, naturally) not getting live access until the final Saturday and Sunday. When news of the deal emerges, one of the older Old England blazers chokes on a strawberry and has to be rushed to St George's Hospital, Tooting.


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