Connolly named airtime adjudicator

Agencies and broadcasters have welcomed the appointment of David Connolly, the former vice-chairman at Starcom Motive, as the independent adjudicator to oversee ITV airtime deals.

Connolly has considerable experience on the mechanics of TV trading.

He established a reputation as a formidable negotiator during his time at Starcom Motive and also has experience of TV sales, having previously worked at Scottish Television.

Connolly will be responsible for examining disputes relevant to the sale of advertising airtime. His decision will be final and binding on Carlton and Granada, while advertisers have the right of appeal to the courts.

His appointment, made by Ofcom and the Independent Television Commission, is mandated by the secretary of state for trade and industry as a pre-condition of the forthcoming ITV merger.

Now that an adjudicator has been appointed, the annual trading round can begin. Graham Duff, the managing director designate of ITV Sales, will announce the remainder of his board, including the key sales director position, next week.

The adjudicator will be based at Ofcom's headquarters and although a part-time role, Connolly is precluded from working anywhere else.

Connolly, 44, left Starcom Motive in the summer. He is a former joint media director at Leo Burnett, and a group head at IDK Media.

Connolly said: "When I am asked to intervene, I will do so quickly and on the basis of the detailed technical facts presented by each party. This is an important and stimulating role."