Adam Crozier quits Royal Mail to run ITV

The ex-FA and Royal Mail boss is the new chief exec of beleaguered ITV. Did you see that coming?

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Last Updated: 10 Sep 2010

Out of the frying pan, into the fire? Having spent the last few years desperately trying to modernise the Royal Mail, Adam Crozier is leaving to take on an equally challenging turnaround job at another UK institution that seems to be past its prime: he’s joining ITV as its new chief executive. New chairman Archie Norman (who remarkably hasn’t appointed someone who used to work at Asda) said Crozier was ‘a a very strong leader with a great track record in delivering transformational change’ – a hint, perhaps, that we can expect more of the cost-cutting he’s been doing at the Royal Mail. ITV staff will hope they get on rather better with him than postal staff seem to have been doing lately...

Crozier, of course, has spent the last few years working alongside Norman’s old sidekick Allan Leighton, so the new chairman hasn’t exactly gone too far outside the ex-Asda talent stable. But the controversial bit for many ITV-watchers is that Britain’s biggest commercial broadcaster now has two non-broadcasters at the helm. Norman claimed Crozier had ‘worked successfully in talent-driven organisations’ (presumably advertising, and at a push football?) but presumably he knows relatively little about making good telly programmes, which is after all what ITV is supposed to be about. Then again former boss Michael Grade had an impeccable track record in that regard, and his time at the helm didn’t work out brilliantly (partly because of the recession, to be fair).

Norman reckons it doesn’t really matter: ‘[Crozier’s] task is to bring together the skills and talent within ITV to drive the business on its strategic journey,’ he schmoozed today. And he may have a point. The chief exec’s job isn’t to run the nuts and bolts of the organisation; it’s to provide direction and make sure he has people in place who can deliver the goods. After what was apparently a ‘very full and thorough search process’ (as opposed to those cursory, slapdash ones?) ITV has apparently concluded that Crozier’s experience at pushing through change at the Royal Mail – and to a lesser extent at the FA – makes him perfectly cut out for the manifold challenges of dragging ITV into the brave new digital world. We shall see.

And the Royal Mail? Well, Crozier is hanging round for a few months, so it has a bit of time to find a successor. And since he seems to have fallen out so badly with the unions lately, it’s not impossible that the appointment of a new boss might actually improve the chances of the two sides thrashing out a deal (you never know). Indeed, given that Crozier ruffled a lot of feathers both there and at the FA, ITV may be a little wary about how he goes about making this ‘transformational change’. But at least its prolonged and very public search for a new CEO is finally over.


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