ITV poaches easyJet CEO Carolyn McCall

LONDON (Reuters) – British broadcaster ITV said on Monday it had appointed Carolyn McCall, the boss of airline easyJet, as its next chief executive, replacing Adam Crozier who has already stepped down.

McCall, who was chief executive at newspaper publisher Guardian Media Group before taking the helm at easyJet in 2010, will start at ITV on Jan. 8, 2018, the company said.

Shares in ITV were trading up 2 percent at 178.5 pence in early deals, while easyJet was down 0.5 percent at 1,404 pence.

Analysts at Citi said it was a “good and exciting” appointment, saying her track record was very strong, delivering a total shareholder return of 312 percent during her tenure at the airline, outperforming the UK market.

“We also think her experience within media (at the Guardian) is a key positive,” they said.

McCall said it was a difficult decision to leave easyJet, but after seven years the opportunity from ITV felt like the right one to take.

“It is a fantastic company in a dynamic and stimulating sector,” she said.

Peter Bazalgette is leadng ITV as executive chairman in the interim, along with CFO and COO Ian Griffiths.

FILE PHOTO: EasyJet Chief Executive Officer Carolyn McCall speaks at a joint news conference with International Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh, Air France-KLM Chief Executive Officer Alexandre de Juniac, Lufthansa Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr and Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary in Diegem, near Brussels international airport, Belgium, June 17, 2015.Francois Lenoir/File Photo

McCall will join ITV, the maker of soap opera Coronation Street and reality show Love Island, at a time when advertising is coming under pressure from intense competition from internet services and weaker consumer markets.

Under Crozier, the broadcaster has increased its production operations, but it still relies on advertising for nearly half of its revenue.

EasyJet said McCall and her team had transformed the low-cost carrier, improving its operations and growing passenger numbers, resulting in a trebling of the share price and the payment of 1.2 billion pounds in dividends.

Profits at the airline, Europe’s second biggest no-frills carrier after Ireland’s Ryanair, have been hit by the fall in the value of the pound after Britain voted to leave the European Union last year.

It reported a 28 percent drop in profit for the year to end-Sept, ending a six-year run of rises under McCall.

The airline said last week it would establish a new airline in Austria to protect its flying rights in the European union once Britain leaves the bloc.

It said the search for McCall’s successor had started.

McCall will earn 900,000 pounds in annual salary at ITV, plus a bonus worth up to 180 percent of salary and a long-term incentive plan worth up to 265 percent of salary, broadly in line with Crozier’s compensation, the broadcaster said.

Editing by Kate Holton and Adrian Croft

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