ITV has appointed the boss of EasyJet, Carolyn McCall, as its new chief executive.
Ms McCall, who has been at EasyJet for seven years, will take over the running of the commercial broadcaster early next year. ITV’s previous chief executive, Adam Crozier, left in June.
She will be paid an annual salary of £900,000, plus pension and possible bonus and incentives.
Before running EasyJet, Ms McCall was chief executive at the Guardian.
She also is a non-executive director at fashion company Burberry, sits on the board of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and is a trustee at the Royal Academy.
Ms McCall said the decision to leave EasyJet had been “really difficult”, but after seven years at the company the time was right for a move: “The opportunity from ITV felt like the right one to take. It is a fantastic company in a dynamic and stimulating sector.”
Analysis by BBC business editor Simon Jack
Straight talking, no-nonsense, charming, effective. Those are some of the descriptions I’ve heard of Dame Carolyn McCall who this morning confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in British business that she will become the new CEO of ITV.
For the customers and shareholders of EasyJet, her track record is impressive. Since taking over in 2010, passenger numbers have grown 56% and the share price has tripled.
But it’s perhaps her impact on the industry as a whole that will prove most lasting. Michael O’Leary freely admitted that EasyJet had “wiped the floor” with Ryanair – forcing his company into a rethink on its approach to customer relations.
EasyJet doesn’t like the terms “budget” or “no frills” – preferring the word “value”. EasyJet played a big part in redefining what that word meant to customers and in doing so ruffled the feathers of the big birds of aviation like BA, Lufthansa and KLM.
ITV’s outgoing CEO Adam Crozier was considered a great success and will be a tough act to follow at ITV but tough is another word you could chuck in to describe Carolyn McCall.
ITV chairman Peter Bazalgette said: “In a very impressive field of high calibre candidates, Carolyn stood out for her track record in media, experience of an international operation, clear strategic acumen and strong record of delivering value to shareholders. I’m delighted we’ll be working together at ITV.”
John Barton, EasyJet chairman, said: “I speak for absolutely everyone at EasyJet in saying we will be sorry to see Carolyn leave and that we wish her well in her exciting new role.”
Her bonus plan on joining ITV will be up to a maximum of 180% of salary, and there will be a long-term incentive plan up to 265% of salary.
ITV described it as “broadly the same remuneration opportunity” to Mr Crozier’s.
The broadcaster’s shares were the top riser on the FTSE 100 in early trading, jumping almost 3% to 180p.
Analysts at Liberum said it was a positive appointment, noting that she had been credited with transforming EasyJet’s fortunes over the past seven years.
“She is seen as being very good with people, at building a strong management team around her and at the ability to ‘work the room’,” Liberum said.
“She also has very good links on the government side, which should be very helpful in areas such as retransmission revenues for ITV.”