ITV chief steps down


Charles Allen has confirmed that he has resigned as chief executive officer of ITV, several days after reports first suggested that his position was under threat.

The UK's largest commercial TV station has appointed finance director John Cresswell as interim chief executive officer from October 1st onwards, with Mr Allen helping in the search to for a permanent successor.

Last week it was suggested that Mr Allen was negotiating terms to bring his tenure to an end amid concerns that ITV's viewer numbers were falling due to a succession of unappealing, unimaginative celebrity-based programmes.

These issues were compounded by a corresponding dip in advertising revenue.

Mr Allen, who has been chief executive officer for the past ten years, successfully negotiated the merger of Granada and Carlton in 2004, and said he felt satisfied at having installed ITV as a "major player in the digital age".

"I am particularly proud of the work that my colleagues have done in creating one of the top production companies in Europe, building the leading commercial family of digital channels, creating the foundations of our consumer business and building confidence in our national and regional news," he said.

However, the chief executive had faced criticism for ambitious plans to challenge BSkyB as the dominant digital broadcaster.

But Sir Peter Burt, chairman of ITV, thanked Mr Allen for his work in "preparing the company for television in the digital age".

"Charles has done an excellent job over the past two years in integrating the business after the merger, in reducing costs and in reducing the burden of regulation on ITV and at the same time developing ITV's successful family of digital channels," Sir Peter added.

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