Green certain to go as Granada blocks ITV appointment

LONDON - The board of Granada has blocked the appointment of Michael Green as chairman of the new ITV in the wake of investors' demands for the Carlton chairman to step down today.

The board of Granada met last night to discuss the issue of Green taking up the role of chairman at ITV, which had been part of the original merger plan.

In the statement, Granada said: "The board of Granada has given careful consideration to the views of shareholders and decided that their interests will be best served by the appointment of a new chairman from outside the enlarged ITV plc."

The company said that any uncertainty should be "removed as swiftly as possible" and, with Carlton shareholders pushing for his resignation, his position looks to be untenable.

Yesterday, the board of Carlton came out in support of Green, who has headed the company for more than 20 years, following demands from the company's largest shareholders, including Fidelity, that he step down by noon today. Carlton then attempted to placate the angry shareholders by saying he would step down in 18 months' time and offering to appoint an independent deputy chairman.

Green is paying the price for his involvement in the ITV Digital debacle, the collapsed digital station that cost Granada and Carlton £1.2bn. His ousting from the board of ITV plc will throw into doubt the future of Charles Allen, the Granada chairman set for the chief executive job at the merged company.

Shareholders at Granada are also unhappy about Allen's involvement with ITV Digital, but he has so far escaped their wrath.

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