Flextech chief executive of content Jane Lighting will be confirmed as the new chief executive of Five by a board meeting of the channel's shareholders today (Friday), writes Penny Hughes
Lighting, who currently oversees Flextech channels such as Living TV, Bravo and Trouble, will replace Dawn Airey, who quit the channel last year to join BSkyB. Sources suggest Flextech Channels executive vice-president Lisa Opie could be in the running to replace Lighting.
The appointment will raise questions about the long-term future of the only surviving member of the management team that launched Five, Nick Milligan. Milligan, who has been Five's acting chief executive, is not believed to have applied for the job. He is understood to want to run a combined Sky/Five sales operation.
After the Communications Bill passes in July - and depending on ITV's proposed merger - it is possible that a single sales operation could be formed for Sky and Five, possibly including Channel 4. A key decision for Lighting and Five's owners is whether they will look to merge its sales operation.
Lighting takes on a challenging role. Didier Bellens, chief executive of RTL, Five's largest shareholder, has said the channel's ambition is to reach a 10 per cent audience share. It currently has a 6.3 per cent share and a budget of£150m a year.