The tan comes from Australia, where he was on holiday, and the jet lag-induced early start is down to his recent return - two weeks early - to start his new job ahead of the crucial and already-delayed negotiation round. You might think Connolly's enthusiasm for his role, which he describes as a "fantastic opportunity" would translate into an unstoppable flow about the various aspects and challenges of his new job. You would be wrong.
In fact, securing on-the-record answers to a fair number of my questions is about as easy as persuading ITV to give away spots in Coronation Street for free.
Maybe asking his reaction to the ITV merger was pushing it - after all, he does work at Ofcom. But surely it's reasonable to ask about the sort of disputes he is likely to adjudicate on? Connolly's response: "I can't really explain or give a direction because it wouldn't be fair on ITV or anyone." His reticence is in part a reluctance to prejudge any potential dispute before it arises. But the truth is it would be inappropriate for Connolly to stand up and give too many opinions. After all, his job is essentially reactive; to act as an impartial third party who responds and rules on complaints from advertisers and agencies about trading disputes with ITV.
If this description appears to downplay Connolly's role in the post-merger landscape, don't be misled; CRR and the independent adjudicator are the all-important checks to the behemoth created by the £5.3bn merger of ITV, with its 52% share of the TV ad sales market.
Key to the effectiveness of these checks is that ITV is bound to adhere to Connolly's decision in any dispute brought before him. As an additional check, Connolly will report regularly to Ofcom about ITV's behaviour and Ofcom will be free to act if it feels too many cases come up.
Connolly's powerful role brings with it big responsibilities. It is vital that he and his team have a good reading of where the fast-moving TV market is at any point as the backdrop for any dispute they are called to rule on. This not only means getting to grips with how ITV's trading balance works, but also understanding the mechanisms of how vast numbers of different deals work, as well as the histories behind those deals.
With large sums of money potentially at stake, it is important that all sides have confidence in Connolly's market expertise. Tom George, deputy managing director of ZenithOptimedia, says he does. "When we first saw the shortlist for the role of adjudicator we were concerned that they might appoint a chairman-type figure. But Connolly is a practitioner who knows all the complexities of TV trading and who has the stature and wherewithal to do the job." ITV's director of sales Gary Digby adds that Connolly's knowledge is unquestionable. "He knows it backwards, forwards and inside out."
Crucially, given the privileged information to which he has access and the negotiating tightrope he is expected to walk, Connolly is said to have great integrity. Richard Beaven, senior vice-president of MediaVest Worldwide, worked with Connolly for more than 12 years and says he won't favour one side over the other. "David's core competencies and passions are negotiating and problem-solving. This job demands even-handedness. David will define fairness in this role and make it his own."
Connolly is adamant that the adjudicator should not be part of the negotiating process, so initially it will be up to agencies and advertisers to try to resolve their differences alone. "It's not a case of 'I've had a bad meeting, I'm going to go to the negotiator now to threaten ITV'," he says.
And, because tempers inevitably flare in the febrile atmosphere of negotiations, he adds that any dispute referred to him must be based on fact, not emotions.
But if all other routes are exhausted and agencies and advertisers believe ITV is behaving unfairly or unreasonably, they can take their case to Connolly, who will look at the facts, talk to both parties and make his decision. Advertisers that are unhappy with his decision can appeal to Ofcom's competition and markets division and ultimately to the courts.
Connolly won't be drawn into talking about how the CRR or his role will shape the TV market. But what he does say suggests that, far from being the last defence between advertisers and an overpowerful ITV, the remedies will allow clever buyers to have some fun. "Within CRR, there are dozens of pages of rules and within the rules it allows for a whole new opportunity for creative negotiation," he says.
Looking ahead, it is impossible to forecast how busy Connolly and his team will be. The majority view is that, having nothing to lose and much to gain, agencies will at least sample his services. For now, everything depends on how ITV and its newly merged sales force behaves. One thing is for sure: Connolly is there if they don't.
December 2003: Adjudicator, Ofcom
1999-2003: Joint managing director rising to vice-chairman, Starcom
1991-1999: Broadcast director, rising to joint media director, Leo
1989-1991: Head of IDK Media