Charles Gurassa to Chair U.K.’s Channel 4 as Government Mulls Privatization

LONDON — Charles Gurassa has been appointed as chairman of U.K. broadcaster Channel 4, which is owned by the U.K. state but is funded by advertising. The government, meanwhile, is mulling its options, which include selling the network.

Gurassa is deputy chairman of low-cost airline EasyJet, and is an independent director for Merlin Entertainments, which is Europe’s top visitor attraction operator. He is a former chairman of British cellphone company Virgin Mobile and movie streaming site Lovefilm, which was bought by Amazon Prime in 2011.

Gurassa will join the Channel 4 board on Thursday, replacing Terry Burns, who opposed privatization, preferring to retain its not-for-profit status and protect its public-service remit. Gurassa’s appointment was made by media regulator Ofcom, and was rubber-stamped by the government.

Patricia Hodgson, Ofcom chairman, said: “I am delighted that we have appointed a chairman of Charles’ caliber to Channel 4. He brings with him a wealth of experience built up across a broad range of sectors.”

Gurassa said: “I am excited to be joining Channel 4, which has a unique place in U.K. broadcasting. I look forward to exploring Channel 4’s important contribution in a rapidly changing sector.”

Gurassa is chairman of the Genesis Housing Assn., and a trustee of English Heritage. His executive career has included roles as chief executive of Thomson Travel Group and executive chairman of TUI Northern Europe. He is a former deputy chairman of the National Trust.

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