ITV unable to recruit commercial director

ITV’s search for a commercial director to replace Ian McCulloch is understood to have hit difficulties with two out of a four-strong shortlist pulling out.

The broadcaster is also understood to be “confused” about what it wants the role to be. Some suggest it has had to go back to the drawing board for names. The appointee would report to John Cresswell, chief operating officer.

Former ITV marketing director Jim Hytner – now Barclays top marketing man – was approached about the vacancy, but no longer remains in the race. Sources suggest Hytner believed the role was too sales oriented.

Phil Smith, the former Camelot commercial director, effectively ruled himself out after last week taking over as UK chief executive of Musgrave Budgens Londis.

Heads of sales at Channel 4 and BSkyB Andy Barnes and Nick Milligan are believed to remain favourites to take the role, although sources say headhunter Isobel Bird has contacted an “eclectic” mix of people from a range of backgrounds. However, one senior television executive claimed that ITV would be “stupid” to select anyone other than Milligan or Barnes.

Aegis UK chief executive Nigel Sharrocks, Yahoo! commercial chief Blake Chandlee, Mail on Sunday managing director Steve Miron and Telegraph Media Group executive director Dave King are all believed to have been sounded out about the role.

It is understood that ITV wants somebody to start before the trading season begins in October.

ITV is also thought to be considering whether to make the role more marketing orientated to emphasise the changing focus of its sales department which earlier this year rebranded as ITV Customer Relations.

McCulloch announced his decision to quit the broadcaster after 27 years in May. He does not have a job to go to. ITV declined to comment on the recruitment process.

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