UTV managing director Michael Wilson has decided to step down after 12 years at the broadcaster, ITV has announced.
Mr Wilson, who joined the company in 2005 from Sky News, oversaw UTV's expansion into the Republic of Ireland before the breakup of the media group and the sale of its television arm to ITV.
He said that he would be sad to leave, but was proud of the company’s achievements during his time running the business, which include the increase in audience of UTV’s television news, the launch and performance of the UTV website, app and player, the renewal of UTV’s Ofcom licence, plus the launch and delivery of UTV Ireland.
“But perhaps the most important has been the consistent delivery of a first class commercial public service broadcaster day in day out with high quality programming such as UTV Live and Live Tonight, UTV Life, The Troubles I Have Seen, Rare Breed, Lesser Spotted Ulster, Nick and Paul, The Big House Reborn, our Mourne series and Ultimate Ulster,” he said.
“We have won RTS Awards, ITV News Awards, New York Television Festival Awards – and, quite rightly, the acclaim of our peers for punching well above our weight. These are achievements everyone at UTV has helped to deliver and I hope they are as proud of them as I am.”
Mr Wilson said that the he was looking forward to new challenges: “When ITV bought UTV last year, I was asked to stay on for the integration process, and now that’s close to completion and UTV Ireland has moved to Virgin, I feel the time is right for me to move onto new ventures.
“I have a huge amount of respect for so many people at UTV, and the staggering professionalism of the teams I have worked with so closely. I wish each and every member of the team every success in the future.”
Christy Swords, ITV director of broadcast finance and operations, who has overseen the UTV acquisition and integration project, added: “Under Michael's leadership, UTV has faced a number of substantial challenges, from the transition to digital television to the demerger from The Wireless Group.
"Throughout that period, Michael has led a programming service that has consistently been one of the strongest performers in the ITV network. I would like to thank Michael in particular for his work over the last several months as UTV has been integrated into ITV PLC.
"UTV is now more strongly placed to face the future as part of ITV and Michael and his team should take credit for that.”
Mr Wilson will leave the company in March.