Blog Post

Virgin Radio, Virgin Media Sit And Wait Whilst Each Lacks A Leader

What’s in a name? Not a chief exec, that’s for sure.

Virgin Media: Virgin Media (Nasdaq:VMED) has appointed head hunters to find a replacement for Steve Burch, who resigned as CEO suddenly last month citing family reasons, FT.com reports: “Mr Burch came from Comcast, and the choice of Spencer Stuart‘s US office (the head hunter which found Burch) has been seen by some people familiar with their appointment as evidence that the company may again look for a veteran of the US cable industry … It is also understood to have made clear that it would favour an executive with experience of the UK media market, where intense competition from British Sky Broadcasting, BT, Carphone Warehouse and the BBC has hampered Virgin Media’s growth.” The company had instituted a review of its business in July after receiving private equity offers but talks with suitors appear to have stalled over concern about the financial markets and now the lack of a CEO.

Virgin Radio: Meanwhile, rock station Virgin Radio, which is not part of the Virgin Media group, is delaying its planned flotation of the channel following the defection of its CEO, Paul Jackson, to GCap’s flagship Capitol Radio last week. As reported, Jackson had been credited with developing a multi-platform strategy that has made the station readily available on all manner of digital formats. Parent Scottish Media Group (LON:SMG) had hoped to divest the station for £85 million in order to ease debts that have forced it to sell other assets. Chairman Richard Huntingford (in Scotland On Sunday): “We cannot IPO the business until we have a chief executive in place. I think it is unlikely one will have everything in place for the autumn.” An unnamed media analyst told the newspaper the UTV group could now bid before an IPO takes place.