Tuesday 23 May 2017

Channel 4 boss David Abraham to step down this year

By Francesca Gosling

The chief executive plans to focus on his own media business from next year.

David Abraham will step down as boss of Channel 4 at the end of this year.

After seven years leading the broadcaster, he said it was the “right year” to hand over as he focused on launching his own media enterprise.

Abraham, who is chief executive, said: “I have enjoyed every day of my time at Channel 4, in particular working with the insanely talented and committed people whom it has been my great privilege to lead.

“Channel 4 matters and I am confident that our stakeholders recognise the unique and significant contribution it will make to the future of UK broadcasting and to the creative industries more broadly.

“I now look forward to working with the Channel 4 board to support and hand over to my successor and then begin the next phase of my life – back in the private sector where I hope to build an organisation that makes use of all that I learned from leading different kinds of innovative creative businesses.”

Earlier this month, the channel invited Star Wars: Rogue One actor Riz Ahmed to deliver a speech in Parliament on the importance of equal representation in the television and film industry – both on screen and behind the scenes.

As the star urged the Government to enforce stricter employment rules, Channel 4 chairman Charles Gurassa said the broadcaster had increased diversity employment but admitted there was “plenty of room for improvement”.

Commenting on Abraham’s departure, he said: “Under his leadership the channel has delivered record revenues, record programme investment, award-winning creative renewal and industry-leading digital innovation… We wish him well in his future new enterprise.

“My colleagues on the board and I will be undertaking a comprehensive recruitment process over the next months to ensure that Channel 4 continues to have outstanding leadership into the future.”

According to The Guardian, Channel 4 prematurely revealed Abraham’s resignation in a tweet, which was quickly deleted.

The move comes months after the channel paid a reported £75 million to take over former BBC cooking show The Great British Bake Off.

It also follows debates over whether the state-owned and commercially funded broadcaster should be privatised.

Channel 4 bosses opposed the idea, as well as a suggestion that it could move its headquarters from central London to Birmingham.

Former chief executive Lord Grade said in September that the channel had “shot itself in the foot” with the Bake Off deal, adding: “I think they have completely undermined their case against privatisation.”

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