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STV chief heads to Global after six years at broadcaster

The CEO of Scottish commercial broadcaster STV, Simon Pitts, is to step down and take up a new post as CEO of Global Group.

The Scottish Channel 3 licensee ended 2023 as the leading commercial broadcaster in Scotland, with its 20% audience share ahead of Netflix (12%), C4 (11%) and Sky (9%). STV was also the most watched peaktime TV channel in Scotland for the fifth year in a row, with a viewing share of 21.8%, while its lead over BBC One in peak widened to nearly 3 share points, and online streams for STV Player were up by 28% and consumption by 25%. Registered users were up 17% to 5.7m, beating its 5m target.

Nonetheless, the company reported a fall in profits for 2023 amid the soft advertising market and generally choppy economic waters. Pre-tax profits fell by 69% to £5.3m as total advertising revenue withdrew by 12% to £97.3m.

Pitts said: “Despite the challenging commissioning environment, STV Studios had a standout 2023, propelled by fantastic dramas like Criminal Record for AppleTV+ and Screw for C4 and the transformative acquisition of Greenbird.

“Our overall financial performance was impacted by weak linear advertising and cost inflation, as expected and related to the challenging UK macro environment, although the start of 2024 has been more encouraging.

“With STV’s latest diversification targets fully achieved, now is the right time to plan a smooth and orderly succession. As such I have informed the board that I will step down as CEO over the next 12 months to take up a new appointment beginning in Q1 2025.”

In rapidly developing appointment news, Pitts was swiftly announced as the new Group CEO of Global Group, starting from his stated Q1 2025 plan.

Pitts will replace Stephen Miron, who announced last week he was stepping down as group chief executive after 16 years at the helm to become Global’s chairman.

Ashley Tabor-King CBE, Founder & Executive President of Global, said: “I’m delighted to announce and welcome Simon Pitts as Global’s new Group CEO from Q1 next year. Simon joins Global with an incredible track record of leadership, growth, and transformation.

“At STV he has led a hugely successful transformation, diversifying revenues and business operations to now include a high-growth streaming service and leading studios group alongside a traditional linear broadcast business, all of which is testament to his leadership skills, and importantly for Global, Simon’s experience of working within a similar business to ours. I see in Simon somebody who embodies the qualities needed to be the Group CEO at Global. He is a natural leader and his strategic thinking and focus will feel familiar to us as he leads us into the next phase of Global’s life. Simon joins us in Q1 2025.”

Pitts said: “I’m delighted to be joining Global, a company I admire and whose brands I’ve been a fan of for a long time. It is unique in the market to have such a diversified portfolio, with digital, audio and outdoor combined with some of the best-loved radio stations in the UK, bringing with it an incredible connection to its audiences. It’s also an amazing opportunity to work in a founder-led business that is creative, innovative, and still thinks of itself as a challenger despite its commercial success.”

Returning to Pitt’s current employer, STV board chairman Paul Reynold’s said of Pitts’ imminent departure: “Simon has been an outstanding leader of STV over the past six years. As the architect of our diversification strategy, he has successfully led the transformation of STV from a linear broadcaster into a resilient content creation and digital streaming business with an exciting future.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Simon for his significant achievements to date and his ongoing commitment to implement the next phase of our growth strategy until he steps down over the next twelve months.”

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