Granada chief Morrison could be next to go in wake of ITV Digital crisis

LONDON - Steve Morrison, chief executive of ITV company Granada, could be the next casualty in the fall-out of the ITV Digital collapse, following the departure of ITV chief executive Stuart Prebble yesterday.

ITV Digital, which was officially put up for sale last week after it failed to renegotiate a £315m deal with the Football League, was on Wednesday reduced to offering a basic package to viewers after suppliers such as BSkyB refused to provide pay channels for free.

The collapse has led to renewed talk about a merger between ITV Digital owners Carlton Communications and Granada to form a single ITV company once regulatory barriers are removed in the government's communications bill, due to be published next week.

Morrison, who has been chief executive since 1996, would be the likely loser in a merger between the two companies.

Although there have been calls for Granada chairman Charles Allen's resignation -- along with that of Carlton chairman Michael Green -- following the disastrous fall of the digital terrestrial platform, both are expected to stay if and when the companies merge.

Allen, who plays an active role in the running of Granada, would be expected to become chief executive of a merged ITV and Green would take on the role of chairman.

However, this leaves large question marks over the roles of Morrison and Carlton chief executive Gerry Murphy.

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