David Abraham is to stand down as chief executive of Channel 4 after seven years.
The broadcaster has confirmed that he intends to step down from his role by the end of 2017 in order to launch a new “media enterprise” next year.
The news appears to have been broken slightly prematurely by Channel 4, who hastily deleted a tweet sent at 2pm before later confirming.
Abraham, who succeeded interim chief executive Anne Bulford in May 2010, joined the broadcaster from UKTV, where he was chief executive.Charles Gurassa, Channel 4 Chair, said today: “David Abraham has been an outstanding Chief Executive of Channel 4 over the last seven years. Under his leadership the Channel has delivered record revenues, record programme investment, award winning creative renewal and industry leading digital innovation.”
Abraham, who has been a vociferous opponent of the government’s potential plans for a potential £1bn sell-off of the broadcaster, is paid almost £900,000 by the broadcaster.
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£1bn, 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.”
Gurassa said he would be undertaking a “comprehensive recruitment process over the next months” to identify a successor.
Internal candidates are likely to include Jay Hunt, chief marketing and communications officer Dan Brooke and sales head Jonathan Allan.
An ongoing government review of the state-owned broadcaster has opened the possibility of the broadcaster being forced to move from its London headquarters to Birmingham or Manchester.
In 2015, Channel 4 opened a new hub in Manchester, where it bases its regional sales team.