Sir Peter Bazalgette to take over as chairman of ITV

The man credited with bringing Big Brother to UK screens will become the next chairman of broadcaster ITV.

The TV network confirmed that Sir Peter Bazalgette is to take over as non-executive chairman from May 12.

He will succeed Archie Norman, who will step down at the firm's annual meeting in the spring after more than six years in the role.

Sir Peter is chairman of Arts Council England and president of the Royal Television Society. When he was chairman of production firm Endemol UK, he brought reality TV show Big Brother to the UK, and helped create other successful formats such as Ready Steady Cook and Changing Rooms.

Andy Haste, ITV's senior independent non-executive director, said: "We went through an extensive and rigorous process to ensure that we found the best possible candidate to become the next chairman of ITV.

"Out of a strong field of candidates, it was very clear to us that Peter is the right person to take on the role and we're delighted that he has accepted."

ITV chief executive Adam Crozier said: "It's been great to have had Archie as part of the team over the last six years as we transformed the company into the international media business it is today.

"ITV is now clearly in a much stronger position creatively, commercially and financially than when we started out and we're in great shape to take on the many opportunities and challenges ahead."

ITV has been profitably reshaping its business in recent years to minimise exposure to volatility in advertising markets by boosting spending on original content, buying production companies to create programmes it can sell around the globe.

Sir Peter said: "As I have seen for myself over the last few years, ITV has gone through a remarkable resurgence during Archie's chairmanship and there is still so much more that we can achieve.

"This is an incredibly exciting time for everyone in the media sector with change happening at an unprecedented rate, and I'm absolutely delighted to be working with Adam and the management team. TV is my first love."

Sir Peter also worked as a non-executive director at Channel 4 for three years from 2001, and was a non-executive director at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport from 2011 to 2013.

ITV, home to shows such as The X Factor, said in July that its share of Britain's television audience fell 4% to 21.1%, as it battles rivals such as Sky, BT and Virgin Media.

But it delivered better-than-expected underlying pre-tax profits in July for the first half of the year, at £391 million against £312 million a year earlier.

Analysts at Liberum welcomed the move.

The broker said: "We believe this will be taken well as he has vast experience in content production and it continues to play into the idea that ITV are a major content provider."

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