UTV Ireland head Mary Curtis stepping down after 18 months

12 Jan 2016

Departing head of UTV Ireland, Mary Curtis

Just 18 months after the launch of the channel, UTV Ireland’s head, Mary Curtis, has decided to step down, as the channel struggles to get the viewing numbers it had hoped for.

Curtis joined UTV Ireland six months prior to its official launch on New Year’s Day 2015, having previously led other national TV services, including the Irish switch-over to being a digital-only service through Saorview, as well as being an executive at RTÉ, but she has now decided to end her reign as UTV Ireland’s head.

The channel announced the news in a statement in which Curtis said that this decision had come following her original promise that she would review her position a year after the station launched.

“I am very proud of what we have achieved – both in 2014 whilst setting up the channel and throughout our first year of broadcasting in 2015,” Curtis said.

“I am very lucky to be surrounded by a highly talented and enthusiastic team in UTV Ireland and I wish everyone at the station every success in the coming years.”

Only last October, it was announced that UTV Ireland – both north and south of the border – was to be sold to its parent station media corporation in the UK, ITV, for £100m (€136m) with the name UTV expected to be phased out in the coming months pending approval from regulators.

Prior to this, the channel posted losses of €10.5m for the first half of 2015 while expectations for the total year are expected to be released showing a total loss of €15.6m for the year.

Curtis said in the statement that she plans to work up until February, with UTV Television’s managing director, Michael Wilson, expected to lead the station until a replacement is found.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic