J Walter Thompson executives are mystified and exasperated by the inability of UK chief executive Stephen Carter to commit himself long-term to the advertising network as speculation mounts that he has been offered the post of chief executive at ITV.
Carter has been interviewed for the job of chief executive at ITV Network Centre, but claims that it is “news” to him that an offer has been made.
He has so far refused to indicate whether he would take the post if an offer was on the table.
JWT bosses have waited a number of weeks for his answer, and are said to be “perplexed” by the absence of a comment from Carter. This week, Carter told Marketing Week: “I have committed myself to the JWT network for many years and continue to do so on a daily basis.”
He refused to comment on whether he was preparing to take the ITV job, and said: “I have nothing more to add to what I have already said on the record,” although he then refused to confirm what ‘the record’ was.
There has been speculation that United Broadcasting & Entertainment chief executive Malcolm Wall is also being considered for the job, though some sources say the post would be too junior for him.
ITV has been searching for a chief executive since the departure of Richard Eyre, who left last year to join Pearson TV.