Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Can a new skipper keep ITV in premier league?

New ITV chief executive Adam Crozier is now on an unfortunate hat-trick.

Twice he has given up on big jobs — with Royal Mail and the Football Association — with his work only half done and a truckload of enemies.

On the one hand, you can see why Mr Crozier is a strong candidate. ITV is stuck in its ways. Its new chief executive has a record of taking leadership roles at entrenched organisations and battling to modernise them.

At the FA, for example, Mr Crozier turned an organisation run by committees of old buffers into a professional outfit capable of holding its own in the cut-throat business of football. It was Mr Crozier who hired Sven Goran Eriksson.

You might hold that decision against him on footballing grounds, but credit is due for the radicalism of appointing a foreign England manager.

As for the Royal Mail, the one thing you would say about Mr Crozier’s time at the Post Office is that he has not been afraid to take on the old guard and their outdated working practices.

And there is some evidence that his leadership had begun to pay dividends: Royal Mail has finally returned to profit over the past 18 months.

At the FA, Mr Crozier quit when, in the midst of a row with the Premier League, he discovered he could not rely on the support of the FA’s chairman.

That failure to build support has been in even greater evidence at the Royal Mail.

He leaves the business after failing to resolve one of the most unpleasant industrial relations disputes of modern times.

On joining the organisation, Mr Crozier would have known he was likely to run into trouble with trades unions. So why on earth did he give them ammunition?

Regularly pocketing seven-figure cheques from Royal Mail hardly left him in a position to lecture the workforce on the need for cost cuts.

However, Mr Crozier’s time at Saatchi & Saatchi in the Nineties will have left him with a good feel for the commercial side of broadcasting. He will certainly need that as ITV strives to play catch-up.

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