Mary Curtis stepping down as head of UTV Ireland

Head of channel will step down in early February, UTV Media confirms

UTV executives: Mary Curtis, head of channel, Michael Wilson, managing director UTV Television and John Mc Cann group chief executive. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

UTV executives: Mary Curtis, head of channel, Michael Wilson, managing director UTV Television and John Mc Cann group chief executive. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Mary Curtis is stepping down as head of UTV Ireland, its outgoing owner UTV Media has announced. She will leave the channel in early February.

Michael Wilson, managing director of UTV Television, will continue to oversee the Dublin-based management team, the Belfast-based UTV Media said in a statement.

UTV Media agreed last year to sell its two television channels, UTV and UTV Ireland, to ITV plc, but the deal has not yet been approved by regulators in the UK and Ireland.

Ms Curtis said she was delighted to have been “part of this new chapter in Irish television, launching a brand new commercial channel in Ireland” and added that she was proud of what had been achieved both in 2014 while setting up the channel and throughout its first year of broadcasting in 2015.

“While I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with UTV Ireland, it was always my intention to review my position after the channel’s first year on air,” she said, describing it as “an exciting and challenging year”.

UTV Media chief executive John McCann said Ms Curtis’s expertise across programming, public affairs, broadcasting and digital matters had been vital to the launch of the channel.

“We all appreciate her huge contribution to the channel and she will be very much missed by the team here.”

Before joining UTV Ireland, Ms Curtis was for many years an RTÉ executive, where one of her roles was to oversee the switch from analogue to digital terrestrial television in 2012. She also led a review of RTÉ’s services in 2013 and after leaving RTÉ worked as a consultant for a time before being appointed by UTV as UTV Ireland’s head of channel in April 2014.

UTV Ireland’s ratings and revenue performance did not meet the company’s own expectations in the first year, prompting a string of profit warnings throughout 2015.

Once the sale of the television division to ITV goes through, the remainder of UTV Media – which owns six radio stations in the Republic as well as the UK station TalkSport – will rebrand under a new name.