By Mark Sweney: Announcement likely to come as BBC Trust approves venture, with chairman tipped to come from outside broadcasting industry
Project Canvas, the BBC-backed venture to bring video-on-demand to Freeview, is understood to have narrowed the hunt for a chairman to two with an announcement planned to coincide with final approval from the BBC Trust.
One source with direct knowledge of the recruitment process, which is being handled by headhunters Russell Reynolds, said that the final two candidates were not familiar names from the broadcasting industry.
The source ruled out former Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) chief Malcolm Wall, who had been named as a candidate in reports, and Carolyn Fairbairn, ITV (LSE: ITV) director of corporate development and strategy, who had been tipped as a possible contender.
Project Canvasis a video-on-demand service backed by seven partners including the BBC, BT (NYSE: BT), TalkTalk and Channel Five.
The BBC Trust is expected to give the final rubber stamp imminently, possibly next week, after the Office of Fair Trading said Project Canvas did not qualify for an investigation under competition rules relating to mergers.
The chairman will then play an instrumental role in the selection of a chief executive, which is also being handled by Russell Reynolds, although a brief on the position has been circulating among industry figures since early May.
The brief in the parallel hunt for a Project Canvas chief executive, seen by MediaGuardian.co.uk, says that TV programming experience “while beneficial, is not required”.
Perhaps the toughest task outlined in the brief, given the experience of conflicting views of stakeholders in services such as Freeview, will be to “synthesise and cohere the demands of the shareholders and enabling them to fulfill their own objectives via the platform” and to “manage this dynamic on an ongoing basis”.
“From an industry perspective the ideal candidate will preferably have experience of driving the evolution and adoption of platforms, or consumer electronics/products, in highly competitive markets,” says the brief. “Experience of consumer electronics, or internet services is strongly desired, although experience of TV programming, while beneficial, is not required.”
Prior experience of running joint ventures, or managing a “diverse shareholder group”, is highlighted as “highly beneficial”, while “experience of operating in a regulated environment would be a plus”.
This article originally appeared in Â© Guardian News & Media Ltd..