GCap Media appointed Fru Hazlitt as its new chief executive on Thursday, replacing Ralph Bernard who announced his plan to leave the commercial radio group last month. The handover takes place with immediate effect.
Ms Hazlitt was regarded as the most likely candidate to succeed Mr Bernard, having joined the group in May this year as managing director of GCap London. As well as other internal candidates, GCap was thought to be considering Phil Riley, former chief executive of Chrysalis Radio, and Malcolm Wall, head of content at Virgin Media.
She will face a number of challenges at the group which, like other media companies, will have to cope with an expected weak advertising market in 2008, as well as the opportunities that digital and online media present.
Ms Hazlitt said: “I look forward to presenting our plans in early 2008”. She said the group had “a status that will enable us to win within the multiplatform environment.”
Richard Eyre, chairman, said Ms Hazlitt’s range of experience suited her for the job and she had an unparalleled “track record in building brands and managing content”.
Before she joined the group, she was chief executive of Virgin Radio for two years and prior to that had spent six years with Yahoo, the internet group, first as European sales and marketing director and then as managing director in the UK and Ireland.
Ms Hazlitt, who is 44, is also a non-executive director of Woolworths and Betfair.
Her promotion comes at an uncertain time for commercial radio in the UK, following the sale agreed earlier this month of Emap’s radio business and its magazines to Bauer, the German publishing group, and the sale by Chrysalis of its radio business in July to Global Radio.
GCap’s shares have been poor performers since it was formed by the merger of Capital Radio with GWR in 2005. On Thursday they edged higher by ¼p to 124¼p.
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