ITV seeks new ad chief

Commercial director Ian McCulloch steps down after 27 years at the broadcaster.

ITV is planning to expand the remit and raise the status of its commercial chief, as it kicks off the search for a replacement for Ian McCulloch, the commercial director who this week announced that he will be leaving the company in the summer. McCulloch is leaving without a job to go to.

At the same time, ITV is reported to be in talks with the former Sky Networks chief Dawn Airey about a top-level management role, although one to focus on the production side of the business.

ITV's executive chairman, Michael Grade, is said to have met with potential candidates for a board-level job that is understood to carry greater responsibilities than McCulloch's current role.

The broadcaster denied it had begun talks for an expanded position. However, a spokeswoman said it has now hired a headhunter to search for McCulloch's successor.

Grade is expected to look for a high-profile media personality to build strong relationships with the industry.

An agency source said: "They need someone to come in and run the commercial side and be a spokesman for the industry. There's a confusing management structure there, none of the internal businesses join up, and someone needs to sort that out."

During his 27 years at ITV, McCulloch played a key role in the merger of LWT and Granada in the mid-90s, and more recently in the Carlton and Granada merger which formed ITV plc. McCulloch was promoted to his current role in 2005, and has since been at the forefront of ITV's campaign against the CRR trading mechanism.

He said: "It feels like the right time for me to explore new opportunities."

- Perspective, page 19.