Media Lifeline: Nick Milligan's career

The TV sales chief's career has often followed in the wake of Dawn Airey's.

1992: Having started at TVS in 1983, Nick Milligan (pictured) spends a couple of years at Central before joining Thames in 1988. He then becomes part of the Thames-BBC venture that sets up UK Gold and Living. He subsequently becomes the channels' sales director.

1996: Milligan leaves to become a founding director and sales boss of five (then described more lavishly as Channel 5) and takes many of his UK Gold and Living sales team with him. The channel launches in March 1997, and its first ad - for Chanel No 5 - is an eye-catching piece of inspired thinking.

2000: Now Milligan's fortunes become firmly hitched to Dawn Airey's star when, following the departure of the founding chief executive, David Elstein, Airey (pictured) becomes the chief executive and subsequently appoints Milligan as her deputy.

2004: And when Airey jumps ship in September 2002 to become the managing director of Sky Networks (the programming arm of Sky Television), there's speculation that it won't be long until Milligan follows her. The speculation is proved right. In February 2004, it is revealed that he is to become the managing director of Sky Media, with a broad commercial remit including ad sales.

2007: So when Airey moves on yet again, in December 2006, to become the chief executive of the new-media start-up company Iostar, the rumour mill goes into overdrive again. If, as expected, Milligan joins Iostar, it is likely that he will be succeeded at Sky Media by his current deputy, Paul Curtis.

Fast forward ...

2009: But the rumour mill can barely cope when Airey, in a shock move, joins the BBC as the deputy director-general. The only way that this move will conform to previous experience is if the BBC starts taking advertising - sold, of course, by none other than Milligan.