Gerry Murphy, the new chief executive of Carlton Communications, has started his tenure by indicating that he hopes the ITV network will be carved up between Carlton and Granada, its main competitor.
Murphy, who joins from his position as head of the freight distribution company NFC, is keen to retain the company franchises following interest in United News & Media from overseas groups such as Bertelsmann and RTL.
His recent appointment is seen as an indication of Carlton's commitment to playing a full role in negotiations about the future of ITV, which is expected to see the number of companies controlling the network drop from three to two.
The news follows the collapse of the agreed merger with United News and Media, which effectively put its three franchises - Meridian, HTV and Anglia up for sale last week.
Murphy reports to Michael Green, founder and executive chairman of the media group. He replaces Steven Cain, who left shortly after the merger with United was announced last November.