Virgin Chief’s Shock Resignation

Virgin Radio Chief Executive, John Pearson, will step down from the company in April.

The surprise resignation, which has been announced to Virgin staff, is believed to be for family reasons.

Pearson’s decision to quit will come as a body blow to parent company, Scottish Media Group (SMG), which has had to field reports in recent weeks of interest in Virgin Radio from the agent of former owner, Chris Evans.

Speculation has also been increasing in recent weeks over the fate of a number of leading radio brands following the recent GWR-Capital merger.

SMG has already mounted a firm defence of its position and pledged to find a replacement for Pearson over the next six months.

SMG Corporate Affairs’ Director, Callum Spreng, says the company will look internally and externally, and believes there will be ‘no shortage’ of people interested in the job.

“We will think there will be a fair degree of high calibre people interested in the job.

“We are in the luxurious position of having until the spring to fill the job. John will be at the helm, has always been very passionate about Virgin Radio.

“He’ll run that business until it’s time for him to leave, by which time we are confident we’ll have a strong successor.”

Pearson says the decision to leave is to improve his ‘work/life balance’: “I leave the station with a strong management team and in a great position, entering a digital radio world.

“My 12 years with Virgin Radio have been a fantastic and unrepeatable experience and I’ve really enjoyed working for SMG.”

SMG Chief Executive, Andrew Flanagan, says: “John is an excellent businessman and a dynamic leader. I’d love him to stay but respect his reasons for leaving.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with him. SMG will miss him, as will all the colleagues and friends who have worked alongside him over the years.

“I’m personally delighted that John has agreed to stay with us until the spring, by which time I’m confident we’ll have found a suitable successor for one of the top jobs in commercial radio in Britain today.”