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HMV chief Simon Fox made favourite for ITV job

LONDON - HMV Group chief executive Simon Fox is tipped to be the name ITV's board will hear today when its recruitment committee presents its preferred candidate. Brand Republic summarises the key moments in his career so far.

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Analysts BGC Partners have made Fox the 4/7 favourite to succeed Michael Grade as chief executive of Britain's leading commercial broadcaster.

The second favourite, at 5/2, is Pascal Cagni, the head of Apple EMEA.

Fox was endorsed at the weekend by media heavyweight Roger Parry, who has chaired companies including Johnston Press, Clear Channel, Future Publishing, and was linked to the ITV chief executive post in 2006.

Parry told the Sunday Telegraph: "For my money, Simon Fox is by far the best. He is not tied to the old thinking. He did a great job at HMV and will be radical and effective."

Fox's experience was also lauded by media analyst Paul Richards of Numis Securities, who said: "Simon Fox is not somebody I've ever met, but our retail team rates him very highly. The challenges at HMV are not dissimilar to those at ITV."

Below we summarise Fox's record at the helm of HMV and Waterstone's, showing how he has taken the music retailer online and into staging music and film, as well as highlighting a recent connection with Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan.

Early career - Simon Fox starts work as a graduate trainee at Security Pacific Bank. He later joins Boston Consulting Group and Sandhurst Marketing. He also founds Office World, the UK's first out-of-town office supplies retailer, growing the business to 60 stores and about £100m turnover in eight years.

1998 - Fox joins Kingfisher as head of its electricals division and subsequently leads the demerger of Comet from Kingfisher.

March 2006 - Comet parent company Kesa Electricals promotes Fox from managing director of Comet to chief operating officer of Kesa.

July 2006 - Fox resigns from Kesa and is appointed chief executive of HMV Group, taking charge of HMV and bookstore chain Waterstone's. He was handed the job soon after annual results showed a 2% drop in revenues to £1.83bn and a 34% drop in pre-tax profits to £80.2m.

August 2006 - Waterstone's trials a loyalty card scheme, which gets a full launch in 2007.

September 2006 - Fox starts work at HMV Group and admits the company has "some catching up to do", especially online.

October 2006 - Marketing columnist Mark Ritson covers the competitive threats facing HMV and Waterstone's.

July 2007 - HMV says it is "very disappointed" to see Prince choose to exclusively release his new album 'Planet Earth' as a free covermount with the Mail on Sunday. Fox describes the move as "absolutely nuts". A week later the retailer admits "Whether we like it or not, selling the Mail on Sunday next week will be the only way to make the Prince album available to our customers".

April 2008 - HMV tests music-themed social networking site, which carries links to buy albums from Fox says: "We will match [users] up with similar people. It's all about connections and collections."

January 2009 - HMV diversifies into live music venues by acquiring 50% of Mama Group for £18.25m. HMV and Mama now own 11 venues including the 5,100 capacity Hammersmith Apollo, Heaven and the Jazz Café.

March 2009 - Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan appointed non-executive director at HMV Group.

April 2009 - HMV announces it is to trial operating "arthouse" cinemas above its stores, with a 200-seat theatre in Wimbledon, in partnership with cinema chain Curzon Artificial Eye.

May 2009 - HMV rolls out loyalty card HMVPure with EHS Brann as its lead agency.

June 2009 - HMV Group reports annual group sales to April 2009 are up 4.4% to £1.96bn and pre-tax profits are up 18% to £61.3m.


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