ITV Board Split over [Pounds Sterling]20m Pay Package to Lure New Chairman

Article excerpt

Byline: Amar Singh

ITV came under renewed pressure today to appoint a chief executive amid reports of a boardroom split over a multi-million-pound incentive scheme for the leading candidate.

Former head of Sky Tony Ball has been in talks with Britain's largest commercial free-to-air broadcaster over replacing executive chairman Michael Grade.

But sources close to the deal say it is "up in the air" as the channel's board, including the chairwoman of the remuneration committee, Baroness Prashar, have failed to agree over terms.

The dispute is believed to hinge on a package which includes a series of incentives should he turn around ITV's ailing fortunes.

City sources claim that Mr Ball, 53, who was Britain's highest paid television executive at Sky, has offered to put some his own money into ITV. The deal could lead to Mr Ball receiving a payout of up to [pounds sterling]20 million if he gets ITV's share price back up.

The headline figure is said to have concerned board members and some of ITV's shareholders. A City source said: "The size of the possible payout has not gone down well with the City.

"ITV positions itself as the home of mass entertainment and programming that ordinary people can relate to with shows such as Coronation Street -- so the integrity of the brand doesn't sit well with big money deals. …