ITV widens Ben Allen's remit as part of sales restructure

Changes seek to enable commercial department to work more closely with clients.

Williams: managing director, commercial, at ITV
Williams: managing director, commercial, at ITV

ITV has promoted trading director Ben Allen to director of commercial strategy and trading and appointed sales director Steve Bignell as director of advanced advertising as it completes its restructure.

The broadcaster of Britain’s Got Talent and Coronation Street has reorganised its commercial team into three external-facing teams: an agency trading team, a creative solutions team and a new client development team.

Kelly Williams, managing director, commercial, at ITV, said the moves are "not designed to disintermediate agencies" but instead "build stronger relationships with agencies and clients".

Allen will continue to run the agency trading team, selling both linear and video-on-demand advertising, but he now has additional responsibility for commercial strategy.

Bignell, who was previously sales director alongside Mark Trinder running the agency-facing creative sales teams, is working alongside colleagues from ITV’s technology and ad operations teams to deliver the capability so brands can buy addressable advertising programmatically.

Trinder now runs ITV’s bolstered agency-facing creative sales teams on his own. ITV will have four teams of eight people moving forward, a boost of eight roles in total.

Claire Heys, creative partnerships and content director, runs a team putting together the products and opportunities that Trinder’s colleagues sell. Her team has also been expanded.

Kate Waters, former chief strategy officer and founding partner at Now, runs the new client development team as director of client strategy. She is building a team of eight, the majority of whom will be external appointments.

Williams said: "Love Island is a great example of a show that we managed to build multiple creative partnerships around. That idea is an example of the scale of the opportunity of our creative solutions.

"As well as the shows we have got to sell we also develop creative ideas around content in general. We’re working on quite a lot of ads. The new Suzuki deal [featuring Take That], for example, is a campaign that we have created.

"We’re working more hand in hand with ITV Studios and ITV Creative to create ideas for clients that can sit around shows but can be digital or live off air. We have a unique position because we’re an integrated broadcaster."

Williams will be visiting media agencies to talk them through the changes in the coming weeks.

In an interview for this month’s Campaign magazine ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said she wanted ITV to be a business partner, not just a media partner, for clients: "It’s about what we can do on the non-spot stuff that is different, creative, interesting, developmental, experimental. You can do that only if you understand what businesses are trying to deal with – and it is tricky [economically] out there."

ITV worked with management consultant Bain Capital on the restructure. The changes have already included ITV integrating salespeople working on Good Morning Britain into the main commercial team.

The creative works team headed by Chris Goldson also ceased to be a separate division. Goldson, who was previously director of creative works and commercial marketing, is now director of commercial marketing and pitch development.

There were about 20 departures from a UK-wide sales team of approximately 350 as part of the restructure.

Simon Daglish continues in his role of deputy managing director, commercial.

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