Five director Opie resigns

Five managing director of content Lisa Opie has resigned from the broadcaster. Her resignation follows that of chief executive Jane Lighting, who was ousted after the appointment earlier this week of Dawn Airey as chief executive and chairman.

Opie, whose responsibilities cover marketing, was brought in by former colleague Lighting from Flextech 18 months ago to overhaul the RTL Group’s programming. She was passed over in favour of executive sales director Mark White, who has been promoted to the position of interim chief executive until Airey starts.

ITV announced earlier this week that Airey, who had served just eight months as managing director of global content, was leaving the broadcaster. Previously, she spent three years as Five chief executive, leaving in 2003 for BSkyB.

Opie will take six months of gardening leave, effective immediately. She says: “Five is in good health, but Jane’s departure and the arrival of Dawn Airey as chairman of Five means that it is time for a change.”

At Flextech, she was in charge of the company’s seven wholly owned channels: LIVINGtv, LlVINGtv2, Bravo, Trouble, Challenge, Player and Ftn. She joined Flextech in September 1993, launched Trouble in 1997 and was made director of programming for Flextech in 1998. She then became the executive vice-president of Flextech channels in November 2001 with overall responsibility for the channels, as well as on-air and off-air marketing.

Earlier in her career, she worked for British Satellite Broadcasting, for the BBC and in the theatre. She recently joined the board of the National Film and Television School.

At Five, Opie was instrumental in hiring Natasha Kaplinsky to front Five News, and overseeing the marketing campaign for Neighbours, the leading Australian soap.

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