Dawn Airey, who joins next month as director of global content, is tasked with growing the business by acquiring production businesses with a pot of as much as £200m which has been made available from the sale of non-core assets.
Chief operating officer John Cresswell said the focus would be on organisations that complement the broadcaster's existing strengths. Indies with a track record, respected talent and revenues of between £10m and £50m are targets.
ITV's UK production revenue dropped from £32m to £19m last year, which the broadcaster blamed on a high turnover of staff, however the drop meant that possible exploitation revenues were lost.
Grade said there would be a number of opportunities to attract new talent and said the broadcaster would explore more co-production and part ownership of indies.
In July, ITV-owned Granada International acquired a 25% equity holding in Mammoth Screen for £1m, giving it exclusive distribution and development rights.
In May, it also took a controlling 51% stake in a new US joint-venture called Jaffe/Braunstein Entertainment.
The company was created in partnership with Jaffe/Braunstein Films, a producer of scripted tele-films and mini-series based in Los Angeles.