Bets back on Ball for ITV chief executive role

LONDON - ITV's appointment of Archie Norman as non-executive chairman has reignited speculation into who will fill the channel's vacant chief executive role, with former Sky boss Tony Ball back in the spotlight as the bookies' favourite.

ITV has been looking for someone to fill the chief executive role since April when Michael Grade revealed that he would be stepping down.

Ball heads Paddy Power's betting list at 5/4. He had been a 5/2 favourite back in May before drifting out to 20/1 in the summer as talks with ITV collapsed.

However, the former boss of Sky steadily moved back to favourite as several names distanced themselves from the role, including Pascal Cagni, head of Apple EMEA.

Peter Fincham, ITV's director of television, has also been touted as a possible candidate and has been his odds have narrowed sharply from 20/1 to 2/1.

Asda's current boss Andy Bond is a 33/1 outsider in a market where even 'X Factor' supremo Simon Cowell has attracted a handful of bets, despite his long odds of 250/1.

Darren Haines, a Paddy Power spokesman, said: "Tony Ball has been in and out of favour more times than Jedward on 'X Factor' but currently again heads the betting list in what should be Norman's first major decision in his new role."

Next CEO of ITV:

5/4 Tony Ball
2/1 Peter Fincham
4/1 Guillaume de Posch
9/1 John Cresswell
10/1 Malcolm Wall
14/1 John Smith
25/1 Rupert Howell
33/1 Andy Bond
250/1 Simon Cowell
500/1 Ant & Dec

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