High-flying easyJet CEO Dame Carolyn McCall is to take over as chief executive at troubled broadcaster ITV.
She will succeed former FA and Royal Mail chief executive Adam Crozier, who has been at the helm of ITV since 2010.
Dame Carolyn, who beat off rivals including Direct Line boss Paul Geddes, takes over at a time when ITV’s advertising revenues are facing their worst year since 2009, shortly after the financial crisis.
News of the appointment boosted ITV’s share price from yesterday’s close of 174.65 to a high of 181.20 before falling back slightly.
Thanks to Dame Carolyn’s focus on customer service, boosting passenger numbers, easyJet’s share price rose from £4 in 2010 to a high of £19 in 2015.
The share price has since fallen back as profits tumbled 27% to £495m amid difficult trading conditions.
Mr Crozier, who stepped down from ITV at the end of June, grew revenue from £2bn in 2010 to £3bn in 2016.
He changed ITV’s business model from being solely reliant on advertising, diversifying into making and selling big-budget dramas. He transformed ITV’s fortunes, raising the company’s share price from 50p in 2010 to a peak of more than £2.50 in 2015.
Peter Bazalgette, chairman of ITV plc, said: “In a very impressive field of high-calibre candidates, Carolyn stood out for her track record in media, experience of an international operation, clear strategic acumen and strong record of delivering value to shareholders. I'm delighted we'll be working together at ITV.”
Dame Carolyn said: “I’m really pleased to be joining ITV. It is a fantastic company in a dynamic and stimulating sector. I am looking forward to getting to know all of the people at ITV and helping it make the most of the amazing opportunities that it has in the future.”
Dame Carolyn takes up her role at ITV on January 8 2018.