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Adam Crozier to step down as ITV chief executive after seven years

The chief executive of ITV is stepping down after a seven-year stint in which he was credited with turning around the broadcaster's fortunes.

The group, home to shows such as Britain's Got Talent, Broadchurch and The Voice, said Adam Crozier will leave the company on June 30, with a long-term successor to be revealed "in due course".

Mr Crozier spent time in charge of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, the Football Association and the Royal Mail Group, before taking the top position at ITV in April 2010.

Since then, the broadcasting giant's share price has climbed more than 200% as investors cheered efforts to guide the business away from a heavy reliance on the turbulent advertising market and towards making and selling hit shows to other broadcasters.

In a statement, Chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette said: "Adam has been talking to me and the board for some time now about his future plans.

"He has made a fantastic contribution to ITV and the board is deeply indebted to him for his strong leadership and personal dedication in very successfully turning around the business and building a more global and diversified organisation with real scale in key creative markets around the world."

As part of the shake-up, ITV chairman Sir Peter will take on the role of executive chairman, while Ian Griffiths will become the combined chief operating officer and group finance director.

The hunt for Mr Crozier's successor started in December, with Sir Peter hiring head-hunters Spencer Stuart to search for long-term replacements for both the chief executive and Mr Griffiths.

Mr Crozier said he now planned to move to the next stage of his career and "build a portfolio of roles" across the private sector.

He said: "I'm incredibly proud of what we've achieved in turning ITV into one of the most successful and dynamic media and content businesses in the world.

"Going forward, our strategy remains the right one for ITV and I leave behind a strong and talented management team who I know will continue to execute it with energy and confidence.

"Today ITV is more robust, well-balanced and stronger both creatively and financially than ever before, and is well-placed for the digital future.

"I wish the company every continued success."

Under his tenure, ITV's external revenues have grown by more than £1 billion, while earnings jumped by 338% and adjusted earnings per share expanded by 844%.

However, the group endured its first drop in full-year advertising revenues since 2009 when it announced annual results in March, but underlying pre-tax profits held largely firm at £847 million in 2016 against £843 million in 2015.

Speculation has been mounting that ITV could become the subject of a takeover attempt from a rival broadcaster, with sterling's Brexit-induced slump making the firm more attractive to overseas buyers.

On Mr Crozier's departure, Liberum analyst Ian Whittaker said: "We do not see the news as sudden in nature nor indicating that ITV is facing major disappointments.

"However, we do think this could potentially be a sign that ITV might be heading for a sale."

ITV shares were down just under 1% in early afternoon trading on the London Stock Exchange.

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