New board appointments at Virgin

ONE of the “most respected figures in commercial radio” has been appointed chair of the radio arm of SMG – Virgin Radio.

Richard Huntingford is described by SMG as having “masterminded the development of Chrysalis into one of the UK’s leading radio groups prior to its recent sale”.

He is one of three board appointments announced to the City this morning, the others being the roles of senior independent director and chief financial officer. Huntingford’s role in non-executive.

Huntingford joined Chrysalis in 1987 as corporate development director and was responsible for the company’s initial investment in the radio sector in 1992 becoming CEO of Chrysalis Radio in 1994. In this role, he successfully expanded the division through a brand-led strategy that saw Heart and Galaxy become major new forces in UK commercial radio. In December 2000, he was promoted to Group CEO. Previously, he worked for 12 years as a chartered accountant for KPMG. Two years ago, he became a non-executive director at Virgin Mobile Holdings (UK) plc until its acquisition by NTL in July last year.

It is SMG’s intention to float Virgin.

Rosemary P. Thorne is the senior independent director, while David Palmer is the chief financial officer. Thorne’s career includes group finance director of Ladbrokes plc (2006-2007), Bradford and Bingley plc (1999-2005), and J Sainsbury plc (1992-1999). She was a non-executive director of Royal Mail plc (1998 – 2004) and has been a non-executive director of Cadbury Schweppes plc since three years ago and Abbey National plc since last year.

Since 1999, Palmer has been involved in many growth and restructuring assignments including: British Mediterranean Airways Limited, the mid-haul airline operating BA franchise.

Says Rob Woodward, chief executive of SMG: “Virgin Radio now has a high quality board which, along with the proven management team led by chief executive, Paul Jackson, will oversee the flotation of Virgin Radio. I am delighted that we have secured individuals of such quality. Richard, Rosemary and David will be instrumental in the growth of Virgin Radio over the coming years.”