We last reported on Carolyn McCall in 2016, when she was the CEO of easyjet. She became the CEO of Guardian Media Group in 2006, after rising to be the CEO of Guardian Newspapers Ltd. In 2016 easyjet announced a plan to offer 10 places for women each year on their pilot training programme, underwriting (i.e. paying) each of their £100,000 training loans. This was the ‘first phase’ of their long term strategy to increase the proportion of female pilots at the airline. Our blog piece here.
A piece in today’s Telegraph:
Carolyn McCall says she “completely believes” the Duchess of Sussex’s statements, rejecting claims made by Good Morning Britain presenter
The boss of ITV has said she “completely believes” the Duchess of Sussex’s statements about her mental health, rejecting claims by the Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan that he did not believe a word she said.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall said she totally believed Meghan Markle’s account of her suicidal thoughts given as part of a tell-all interview broadcast by ITV on Monday night.
She added that Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of television, was speaking to Mr Morgan about his comments but did not say whether Morgan would be disciplined.
Ms McCall said: “I completely believe what she says. The most important thing with mental health that ITV does, and is committed to, is that we support, we get people to speak up, we say everyone has to listen and everyone has to believe. [J4MB emphasis. OUTRAGEOUS.]
“That’s is how you get people to speak up. We do that through Britain Get Talking and a range of campaigns throughout the year. I completely believe her when she says that – and importantly everyone should.
“I’ve had a lot going on in the past couple of days, so I haven’t spoken to Piers myself, but I know Kevin Lygo is speaking to him on a regular basis and has done so for the last couple of days.”
On Monday’s edition of GMB, Morgan said: “I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe it if she read me the weather report. The fact that she’s fired up this onslaught against our Royal family I think is contemptible.”
Following a heated discussion about the Duchess with co-presenter Alex Beresford on Tuesday, Morgan stormed off set before later returning.
Ms McCall also insisted that Morgan’s decision to walk off set had not been “manufactured”.
The row came as ITV warned of a “challenging” advertising market during the current lockdown after posting a sharp decline in profits and revenues last year.
Pre-tax profit slumped by almost two-fifths to £325m compared to the previous year, while total revenue fell 16pc to £3.26bn.
The Love Island broadcaster said the first quarter of 2021 was “challenging”, with total advertising revenues likely to be down about 6pc. However, it added that its performance was bouncing back and most of its programmes were back in production.
It added total advertising revenues were expected to jump about 8pc in March and by between 60pc and 75pc in April.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “While total revenues and profits were down our financial performance was ahead of expectations driven by a strong end to the fourth quarter and our firm control over costs.
“We are encouraged by the road map out of lockdown. We are seeing more positive trends in the advertising market in March and April and the majority of our programmes are now back in production.”
Shares were 2.7pc lower in morning trading.
The group’s studios business also suffered during last year’s lockdown as productions were halted, with revenues down by a quarter.
Britain’s production industry was forced to put shows on ice at the start of the crisis to protect workers’ health, but started filming again in May after it introduced social distancing rules.
Online viewing on its ITV Hub and ITV Hub+ platforms dropped 5pc, after Love Island was cancelled last summer and production disruption meant there were fewer episodes of its soaps such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street.
Britbox UK, ITV’s joint subscription streaming platform with the BBC, performed well, the group said, hitting 500,000 subscriptions in January.
The FTSE 250 broadcaster, which dropped out of the blue chip FTSE 100 index last year, is attempting to use the service to fight back against the growing popularity of Netflix and Disney+.
ITV scrapped its final dividend, saying it would restore shareholder payouts “as soon as circumstances permit”.
Ms McCall added: “There remains uncertainty in all markets around the world with the potential risk of lockdowns, which if they materialise will affect revenues. We are committed to taking further cost out of the business while further investing to accelerate the delivery of our strategy and digital transformation.”
Last week, a hedge fund chaired by an investor in the Right-leaning TV network GB News took a £33m short position in ITV ahead of its annual results.
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