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Paul Jackson quits Virgin Radio for Capital

LONDON - Paul Jackson has quit as Virgin Radio chief executive to join London's Capital Radio, where he will be managing director reporting to former boss Fru Hazlitt.

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The surprise move echoes Hazlitt's own surprise jump from Virgin chief executive in January to join GCap. Jackson, then programme director, was promoted to replace her.

As managing director of Capital, Jackson will have responsibility for programming, marketing, new media and commercial opportunities.

Capital's programme director is Scott Muller, hired in April last year from DMG Radio in Australia to give the station a new sound.

Jackson's departure comes two weeks after Virgin Radio's parent company SMG brought in three senior figures to work with him in preparation for the planned spin-off of Virgin Radio and flotation on the London stockmarket.

Among them was Richard Huntingford, the outgoing chief executive of Chrysalis Group, who became Virgin Radio chairman. Huntingford may now be a contender to take over the executive role from Jackson.

The other appointments were chief financial officer David Palmer and senior independent director Rosemary Thorne.

SMG put out a statement to say Huntingford and Rob Woodward, SMG chief executive, will continue with the IPO process.

Woodward said: "Richard and I are working to build a first-class management team, and look forward to appointing a CEO with the right experience to lead the business into the public markets."

The hiring is a coup for GCap and Hazlitt, the managing director of GCap's London stations. GCap suffered a recent mauling after Capital fell from third in to fourth place in the London commercial stations' hierarchy of market share in the second quarter Rajar listener figures, supplanted by Emap station Kiss.

Hazlitt said Jackson was coming into "probably the most high-profile job in radio".

Hazlitt said: "He has a brilliant track record, a broad set of skills and I am confident that Capital will flourish under his leadership."

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