Hunt for ITV sales dispute adjudicator gets under way

LONDON – The search for a candidate to fill the £100,000-a-year, three-day-a-week adjudicator's job to rule on disputes between the merged ITV and the advertising industry got under way today, with a recruitment ad inviting applications for the job.

The position emerged from last Tuesday's decision by the Department of Trade and Industry to follow the Competition Commission's advice and pass the ITV merger, including the combination of its two sales houses, but with conditions attached.

The provisions attached to the merger have been put in place mainly to placate the advertising industry and ensure that the merged sales house does not act anti-competitively.

The adjudicator will rule on disputes with advertisers and media buyers arising from the merger of the sales houses.

This would include the contracts rights renewal condition, which enables advertisers to renegotiate deals on the same terms as their existing deals over the next three years.

Already a list of well-known names in the industry have been linked to the job. These include: David Cuff, the former Flextech executive vice-president of commercial, who is also a former broadcast director at Initiative Media; David Connolly, the vice-chairman of Starcom Motive, who has resigned from the agency; and Bob Wootton, director of media and advertising at ISBA.

A report in the Sunday Express also suggests David Reich, former chief of Tempus, and Jim Marshall, chairman of the Institute of Practioners in Advertising's media futures group.

Any of these seem likely candidates because the job asks for applicants with a background in TV ad sales -- a buyer in airtime sales or in client procurement and that he or she would have an understanding of contractual issues in the industry.

Other requirements for the job are the applicant must be entirely independent of all parties in the industry, and must have no relationship with Carlton or Granada, any advertiser or media buyer or other industry party.

This means anyone currently employed in the industry would have to be released from their contracts immediately to take up the role by the end of the year.

The job initially comes with a one-year contract, which will probably be extended to a further two years, according to the ad.

One sticking point could be that it will be funded by Granada and Carlton, which could spark calls that the adjudicator would side with ITV.

The closing date for applications is October 31, giving interested parties less than two weeks to get their applications in.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.

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