WHAT does BBC chairman Michael Grade’s shock defection to ITV mean for the corporation’s planned move to Salford?
His resignation to become executive chairman at ITV is a huge blow to the BBC.
“Clearly this is a surprise,” said the BBC, as the media world struggled to come to terms with Mr Grade’s stunning transfer.
A government decision on the BBC’s licence fee settlement is due any week now.
Negotiations on the licence fee are at a critical stage and certainly won’t be helped by Mr Grade’s sensational switch to ITV.
The amount of cash the BBC receives will determine whether or not the planned 2010 move of five departments and 1,500 staff posts to Salford can go ahead.
Mr Grade’s decision may well have been influenced by his family’s historical links to ITV, including his own stint as director of programmes at LWT.
A reported seven figure salary will, no doubt, have come into the equation compared to the £140,000 he was due to receive as head of the new BBC Trust.
But was the departing BBC chairman also influenced by knowledge of the imminent licence fee deal?
All will soon become clear.