Headhunters circle Eyre after he splits from RTL

Richard Eyre’s departure from his role as director of strategy and content at RTL Group has prompted rumour and speculation as to where he will turn up next.

It is understood that Eyre has been approached by a number of commercial rivals within the past few weeks while still at RTL Group, the owner of Channel 5 and Pearson TV.

One source claims that Charles Allen, chairman of Granada, has approached Eyre with an offer to return to his old role as chief executive of ITV. But a spokeswoman for ITV says that it is unlikely that Eyre will return to the network.

Eyre joined Pearson in January last year as chief executive, replacing Greg Dyke, who had moved to the BBC as director-general of the BBC, a role which Eyre himself had wanted.

Pearson’s TV business was merged with CLT-Ufa three months later to create RTL Group. This resulted in a change of job for Eyre, who found himself third in the company pecking order. One TV industry source says: “He was getting increasingly frustrated with the ownership structure and wanted to run his own ship again.”

Most industry sources agree there are few jobs in TV that are big enough for Eyre’s qualifications. One suggestion is that Eyre might be recruited to head a flotation of the BBC and Flextech joint venture UKTV, while another thinks that his “diplomacy, policy and strategic” skills may be suited to heading up the new regulatory body Ofcom, or a career in politics.

A spokesman for RTL Group says: “The job he came for was not the job it became. But he applied himself to make the integration work and now feels that it is the right time to go.”

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