Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Grade: I'm Coming Home to ITV Career Move: Michael Grade Leaving Home; for [Pounds Sterling]8m and a 1,000% Pay Rise

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Grade: I'm Coming Home to ITV Career Move: Michael Grade Leaving Home; for [Pounds Sterling]8m and a 1,000% Pay Rise

Article excerpt

Byline: ALEXA BARACAIA

MICHAEL Grade is set to pocket [pounds sterling]8 million - and a 1,000 per cent pay rise - after defecting from the BBC to take control of ITV.

The 63-year-old said today the move was "like coming home" and vowed to "give the BBC a run for its money".

Grade's decision has left the corporation in turmoil. News first leaked late last night, and today ITV confirmed he will join as executive chairman in the New Year, on a salary of [pounds sterling]825,000 a year but with perks that could more than double that amount annually.

Mr Grade began his TV career at ITV and his uncle, Lew Grade, is credited with having helped to found the commercial network.

It comes after a four-month search for a successor to ITV chief executive Charles Allen, the "upstart caterer" who was finally ousted this summer following poor ratings and plummeting advertising revenue.

The speed of the move has shocked the industry but, although he was chairman of the corporation, Mr Grade was appointed by the Government and not tied to any BBC contract.

As he faced a clear conflict of interest, he has left with immediate effect.

But in a revealing series of internal emails, BBC director general Mark Thompson hinted at the astonishment felt at today's bomb-shell announcement.

He told staff: "I know some of you will find Michael's decision and timing surprising," before adding, "ITV needs a new leader and Michael's many strengths and long experience make him a strong candidate for the job."

In his message to staff, Grade says his move was a "career decision" taken because he was

desperate to get back into dayto-day running of a broadcaster.

He wrote: "Those of you who know me will understand just what an effort of will it has taken for me, as chairman of the governors, not to look at overnight ratings every day, not to engage in idle programming chit chat with the brilliant creatives who are currently taking BBC television, radio and online to new heights. …

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