United Business Media chief operating officer Malcolm Wall and Five deputy chief executive Nick Milligan are among the names being linked by industry insiders with plans for a post-merger ITV, reportedly being drawn up by former Five chief executive David Elstein.
According to a report published earlier this month by Dundee-based Enders Analysis, Elstein has put together a management team which would be able to drive through radical change at a merged ITV. Elstein, however, has since denied reports that he is putting forward an alternative management to run a post-merger ITV, saying that it is up to investors in Carlton and Granada to make that decision.
Nonetheless, industry speculation strongly suggests the names of Wall – who is also a non-executive director of Five – and Milligan as people whom Elstein may have approached about the possibility of running a merged ITV. It is thought that Elstein would not wish to make any changes to the programming and marketing teams at Network Centre, leaving director of programme strategy David Bergg and marketing and commercial director Jim Hytner in their posts.
Carlton and Granada have indicated that their merger could be thrown into jeopardy if the Competition Commission were to force them to divest their sales operations, as this would cancel out any cost-savings. Elstein, on the other hand, makes it clear in the Enders piece that a divestment of both sales houses could save &£20m a year through staff reduction.
Elstein was unavailable for comment as Marketing Week went to press.