If betting odds are a guide, Mike Clasper is a shoo-in to replace Charles Allen as chief executive of ITV. Cantor Index offers evens that the former BAA chief executive will get the job. The nearest rival, Stephen Carter, the outgoing head of media regulator Ofcom, is 7-2 against.
But Mr Clasper, an ITV board member since January, does not have convincing credentials. What ITV really needs is a creative renaissance. Mr Clasper has no relevant experience in this area.
ITV’s ability to deal with the decline at ITV1 has been hindered by the regulatory controls on advertising put in place when Granada and Carlton merged. Change is needed and Mr Clasper has experience in regulated businesses. However, the aspect of Mr Allen’s track record that few disputed was his success in negotiations with Ofcom. ITV’s falling share price contributed to Mr Allen’s departure. Until BAA’s highly priced takeover, Mr Clasper’s track record on creating value was not inspiring, though admittedly he did have to contend with significant negative shocks such as 9/11. When he joined BAA as deputy chief executive in 2001, its share price was 600p. It was little changed at the start of 2006, in spite of slightly higher permitted returns and 80 per cent growth in its regulated asset base.
Mr Clasper did of course oversee a frenzied auction for BAA. Perhaps that is why he is the punters’ favourite for ITV.