Baroness Ford of Cunninghame will join the board on 1 June as a non-executive director and will replace Findlay on 31 August when he retires after six years in the role.
Her appointment will add to the stock of females at the helm of UK boardrooms and she will be only the second to currently chair a quoted company in Scotland, the other being Swedish businesswoman Karin Forseke, who replaced Lesley Knox at Alliance Trust.
Ford has worked in urban regeneration and has extensive experience of working with government. She is chairman of May Gurney Integrated Services, and of Barchester Healthcare, the private healthcare provider and she holds non-executive director roles with Grainger, Segro and Taylor Wimpey. From 2009 to 2012, Ford was chairman of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, resigning through time pressures. She was appointed to the House of Lords in 2006, initially as a Labour peer and is now a cross-bencher.
“I am delighted to be succeeding Richard Findlay, for whom I have the highest regard, as chairman of STV,” she said. “I am conscious of what an excellent job the board has done since 2007 and look forward immensely to working with Rob Woodward and the board in taking the company to the next phase of its development.”
The outgoing chairman was appointed to what was then SMG in February 2007 when Woodward became chief executive, and the pair undertook a overhaul of the business. A number of assets were sold, including Virgin Radio, the Pearl & Dean cinema advertising business and its outdoor advertising company.
The company changed its name to STV in 2008 to more accurately reflect the newly-focused group’s core television activities.
Findlay spent ten years as chief executive of Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) which owned Forth and Clyde, among other radio stations, and a portfolio of newspapers in the UK and Irish Republic. SRH was sold to EMAP in 2005. He has links with the Scottish arts community and is the founding chairman of the National Theatre for Scotland and chairman of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Foundation and of Innovate Financial Services. He is also chairman of the STV Appeal charity.
He said: “Significant progress has been made in transforming STV into a profitable growth company with a strong balance sheet and a clear strategy to create value. The focus is now on execution of the growth strategy and I am confident that, led by Margaret Ford, the strong board and capable and motivated management and staff team at STV will continue to fulfil the exciting potential of the company.”
Woodward added: “On behalf of the board, employees and shareholders I would like to thank Richard for his exemplary leadership, insight and wise counsel. Under his stewardship, the future prospects of the company have been transformed as he has steered the business through challenging times and successfully overseen the implementation of a growth strategy designed to deliver shareholder value. I am looking forward to working with Baroness Ford in delivering the next stage of STV’s growth strategy.”