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Channel 4 Chief David Abraham To Step Down, Launch Media Business

Deadline logo Deadline 3/14/2017 Nancy Tartaglione
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After seven years as Chief Executive of the UK’s Channel 4, David Abraham has elected to leave his post by the end of 2017. No replacement has yet been set for what is one of Britain’s top TV jobs. Abraham has plans to launch a media business in 2018 and will remain at C4 until a new Chief Exec has been appointed.

An erstwhile ad man, Abraham is a former Discovery exec who joined Channel 4 in 2010. The broadcaster is a publicly-owned but independent entity with a formal remit to innovate and finance independent producers to take risks. On the TV side, its successes include Gogglebox, Come Dine With Me and Made In Chelsea. In a coup last year, it succeeded in poaching The Great British Bake Off from the BBC. The feature division, Film4, has strong talent relationships and has backed such Oscar winners as The Queen, Slumdog Millionaire and 12 Years A Slave.

Abraham is a vocal part of the UK industry has been an opponent of the government’s potential plans to privatize the broadcaster. In 2014, he delivered the prestigious James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival, sounding a warning on consolidation and the advancement of U.S. media groups into the British TV arena.

Today, he said, “I had three priorities when I joined Channel 4 in 2010: to build an independently sustainable business while still delivering strongly to our public remit; to assemble a team capable of delivering creative renewal post Big Brother; and to become world leaders in digital and data innovation. After several successive years of positive momentum and with revenues now of c£1B, investment in content of £700M and sustained creative performance, I have decided that 2017 is the right year for me to hand over this important public job to my successor… 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.”

Charles Gurassa, Channel 4 Chair, called Abraham an outstanding Chief Executive who leaves the organization “in excellent creative and financial health and with a strong and highly experienced team in place… 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.”

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