Sky believes in a better return from its operation in Ireland
“Moone Boy is the first major commission that we’ve done, which we’re delighted with. We’re already moving on a second series and hopefully there’ll be a lot more to come.”
Darroch joined Sky in 2004 as chief financial officer before rising to the top job three years later. He had previously worked as group finance director of DSG International, formerly known as Dixons.
Darroch also spent 12 years in a number of role with Procter Gamble in Europe. This included visits and interaction with its business in Ireland.
Interaction with Murdoch
Both are consumer-facing businesses and provided excellent experience for his current role.
“I enjoy working for Sky,” he says. “It’s a great job; every day is exciting.”
Sky was the creation of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation remains its major investor with a 39.1 per cent stake.
Darroch says he has a lot of “interaction” with Murdoch, who is 81. “He’s very helpful, he offers advice if I need it and he’s always been very supportive of our business.
“He was the driving force at the outset and he always encourages us to do more and drive on further.”
News Corp tried to buy BSkyB outright in 2010 but its bid was scuppered by the phone hacking scandal, which engulfed the media mogul and his British newspapers.
His son James Murdoch stepped down as BSkyB chairman last year following shareholder pressure.
Might News Corp bid again for Sky?
“I don’t know,” is Darroch’s straightforward answer. “This is the sort of question I get asked many times and the answer is you’ve got to ask them.
“As a management team, our job is to keep managing the business. If we keep growing the company then I think we’ll be an attractive business and we’ll be delivering for all of our shareholders.
“One of the things we tried to do in the whole bid process was not be distracted but just to stay focused on the business. I think we did a very good job of that.”
Outside Sky, he is non-executive director of Marks Spencer, a board member of the charity Youth Sport Trust and a council member of the Council for Industry and Higher Education.
Darroch grew up in a town 35 miles north of Newcastle and retains a hint of a Geordie accent.
“I was back home at Christmas and man it was cold,” he says as sleet taps against the window.
He has a relaxed style about him, answering questions quickly and with little fuss.
By the time we met, it was the end of a long day of town hall-style meetings. He had discarded the tie and opened the top button on his white shirt.
Back to the Irish business, and Darroch says Sky didn’t hesitate about making the substantial investment in Ireland even though the economy is in the doldrums.
“We’re here for the long term. The business is in good shape and successful, so it made sense,” he says.
“I hope our consumer insight about the Irish marketplace will improve. I think we’ll learn as much from our Irish organisation as we will from the UK.”
Will the employment levels increase in the years ahead?
“Hopefully, this is just the start and we can grow further. We don’t have a particular number in mind. Largely, it will be dictated by the success of the business. But there’s no reason we can’t continue to grow.
“Our business in Ireland is in good shape. We’ve got an appetite to do more. If we can be successful here and do a good job then I think the prospects for the company are strong.”
CV Jeremy Darroch
Name: Jeremy Darroch
Job:BSkyB chief executive
Family:Married to Rachel, three children.
Lives: Weybridge, in Surrey.
Hobbies:Any sport, walking, reading and cinema
Something we might expect:He’s a Newcastle United fan.
Something that might surprise:“I don’t ride a bike”. The Team Sky cycling team hit the headlines last year when Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France.