New ITV chairman Burt pledges to back Allen

The City has welcomed the appointment of Sir Peter Burt, the former chief executive of the Bank of Scotland, as the chairman of ITV.

"There's been a lot of chat about his lack of media experience, but generally it's being viewed as a good appointment," Paul Richards, an analyst at Numis, said.

Richards added that Burt's experience leading the merger of Halifax and Bank of Scotland would hold him in good stead in running the post-merger ITV board. This board has promised shareholders that it will make £100 million of cost savings from merger synergies.

His appointment was also welcomed by the media industry, which has been waiting for completion of the ITV board since last October.

Burt, 59, becomes the non-executive chairman of the company, from 15 March. He replaces the interim chairman Sir Brian Pitman, who stood in after the chairman designate Michael Green was deposed by shareholders led by the Fidelity fund manager Anthony Bolton.

ITV was keen to stress that Fidelity had welcomed the appointment of Burt. Meanwhile Burt, who as non-executive chairman is responsible for ensuring that the company has the right executive board, has stated his support for Charles Allen, the chief executive of ITV.

Allen has been criticised by analysts in the past for ITV's lacklustre performance, particularly his involvement in the £1.2 billion ITV Digital debacle.

However, Richards said City calls for Allen's resignation had subsided.

"They've made the strategy and set the savings. People feel a lot more comfortable with ITV now."

Burt is currently the chairman of Gleacher Shacklock, the UK arm of a US investment bank.

He said: "ITV is an exciting and vibrant business. It is having its best on-screen year-on- year performance for ten years and there is a clear strategy in place which is beginning to show results."

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