David Abraham
Heathcliff O'Malley/REX/Shutterstock
United Kingdom



In recent years, the British government has been mulling whether to privatize Channel 4, the publicly owned, but commercially funded broadcaster. David Abraham, who became chief executive in 2010, has mounted a vigorous defense of its present position. He is leaving his job before year-end to launch a start-up, and will be replaced by former Shine CEO Alex Mahon.

He has underscored its special status within the local media landscape, drawing attention to its remit, enshrined in law: that it should be innovative, experimental and distinctive, and it should stimulate public debate, reflect the U.K.’s cultural diversity, champion alternative points of view, inspire change in people’s lives, and nurture talent.

Abraham’s defense of these core values has been underpinned by a sound commercial and editorial track record. The network’s latest annual results showed that it achieved record revenues of $1.23 billion (U.S.), and record content investment of $572 million). It has launched innovative shows like “Black Mirror,” “Gogglebox,” and “Humans,” and increased funding for movie arm Film4, whose pics have included “12 Years a Slave,” “Amy,” and “Room.”
Abraham began his career in 1984 in advertising, working at CDP and Chiat/Day. In the 1990s, he was a founding partner and chief operating officer at the advertising agency St Luke’s.

He led Discovery Networks U.K. as general manager during a four-year period of rapid growth from 2001, and worked at Discovery Networks USA between 2005-2007, where he led the revival of cable channel TLC as its president and general manager, overseeing all content investment and strategy.
From 2007-2010, he was chief executive at British network UKTV, where he masterminded the launch of male-skewing channel Dave, which laid the foundation for rebranding the entire network.


  • Channel 4
  • UKTV
  • Discovery Networks International


  • Oxford University (UK)

Variety Honors

  • 2017 Variety500 Honoree
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News from Variety

Channel 4 Chief David Abraham to Step Down

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...


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