×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Channel 4 Chief David Abraham to Step Down

David Abraham, chief executive of British broadcaster Channel 4, is to step down by the end of this year. The move may reignite rumors that the advertising-funded state-owned network is likely to be sold off by the government.

Abraham, who has led the network for the past seven years, will remain at the company until a new chief exec is in post. After leaving, Abraham will “develop personal plans to launch a media enterprise [next year],” according to a statement.

Charles Gurassa, Channel 4’s chair, said: “David Abraham has been an outstanding chief executive of Channel 4 over the last seven years. Under his leadership, [it] has delivered record revenues, record program investment, award-winning creative renewal and industry-leading digital innovation. He leaves the organization in excellent creative and financial health, and with a strong and highly experienced team in place.”

Abraham said he had three priorities when he joined the broadcaster, which has annual revenues of around £1 billion ($1.22 billion), and content spend totaling £700 million ($851 million). These were, he said, to “build an independently sustainable business, while still delivering strongly to our public remit; to assemble a team capable of delivering creative renewal…; and to become world leaders in digital and data innovation.”

Abraham added he was looking forward to beginning “the next phase of my life — back in the private sector where I hope to build an organization that makes use of all that I learned from leading different kinds of innovative creative businesses.”

From 2007-2010, Abraham had served as chief executive at UKTV, where he masterminded the launch of Dave, which laid the foundation for rebranding the entire UKTV network. Between 2005-2007, he had worked at Discovery Networks USA, where he led the revival of cable channel TLC as its president and general manager, overseeing all content investment and strategy. Before heading to the U.S., he led Discovery Networks UK as general manager during a four-year period of rapid growth from 2001.

Although Channel 4 and the BBC are both owned by the British government, the former sets out to stand apart from the latter by focusing on “innovation, inspiring change, diversity, nurturing talent and being a platform for alternative views,” according to a statement. Past shows have included “Gogglebox,” “Humans,” “Black Mirror” and “Catastrophe,” and its movie division, Film4, has helped fund pics like “12 Years a Slave,” “Ex Machina” and “Room.”

Abraham has been a vocal opponent of a long-mooted threat by some politicians in the ruling Conservative Party to privatize the network.

In the statement, he said Channel 4 was “a world-class public-service broadcaster that offers viewers and producers the opportunity for so much richness, delight and value, across so many genres — and long may that continue.”

He added: “Channel 4 matters and I am confident that our stakeholders recognize the unique and significant contribution it will make to the future of U.K. broadcasting and to the creative industries more broadly.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Ree with Sticky Pork

    Food Network Strikes Three-Year Pact With Ree Drummond, 'The Pioneer Woman'

    Ree Drummond will be offering Food Network viewers more hearty family meals for the next three years. Drummond, who has hosted “The Pioneer Woman” on the Discovery-owned network since 2011, has signed a new deal with the outlet that calls for new episodes of her program. “Ree Drummond’s incredible following and popularity has led her [...]

  • David Zaslav

    Steven Spielberg's 'Why We Hate' Is More Timely Than Ever, David Zaslav Says

    The political state of the world today has made the upcoming docuseries “Why We Hate” relevant in a way that its producers, Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney, hardly expected when they began developing the project five years ago, Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav said Thursday. “Things are much more of a challenge and hate [...]

  • Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith. Jada

    Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Westbrook Inks Development Pact With Telepool (EXCLUSIVE)

    Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s new media venture, Westbrook Inc., has signed a co-development agreement for feature films, television shows and digital entertainment formats with German-based film and TV company Telepool. The move follows the acquisition of Telepool last year by Smith and Elysian Fields, a Zurich-based investment company. Westbrook, launched this year by [...]

  • Shane Gillis SNL Controversy

    Shane Gillis Makes First Stand-Up Appearance Since 'SNL' Firing

    Comedian Shane Gillis made his first public appearance Wednesday night since he was hired by “Saturday Night Live,” then fired from the show days later amid controversy over his use of racist slurs. Appearing on stage at comedy club the Stand in New York City, Gillis performed an 11-minute set that pulled no punches when [...]

  • AMERICAN HORROR STORY: 1984 -- Pictured:

    'American Horror Story' Recap: Welcome to 'Camp Redwood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the season premiere of “American Horror Story: 1984” entitled “Camp Redwood.” Welcome back to “American Horror Story,” which in its ninth season travels back in time to the 1970s and 1980s to play in the slasher genre. Only one episode into the season, it already [...]

  • Connie Britton BlogHer Summit

    Connie Britton on ‘Friday Night Lights’ Remake: ‘You Need to Let it Go’

    Connie Britton opened up at a fireside chat Wednesday at the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit in Brooklyn by talking about one of her most beloved roles — Tami Taylor in the fan favorite series “Friday Night Lights.” When asked if a remake of the sports cult film and Emmy-winning TV show is in the works she [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Bob Iger Would Have Combined Disney With Apple if Steve Jobs Were Still Alive

    Disney and Apple are both launching their own streaming services come November, but Disney CEO Bob Iger says the two companies weren’t always on competing paths. In an excerpt from his autobiography published Wednesday in “Vanity Fair,” Iger revealed that Disney and Apple likely would have merged if Steve Jobs hadn’t died in 2011. “I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content