Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham to quit, leaked statement says

Jon Stone
Channel 4 CEO David Abraham: AFP/Getty Images

Channel 4's chief executive is to step down from his post, according to a leaked statement accidentally posted by the broadcaster.

The Channel 4 press office Twitter account posted a long statement confirming David Abraham's departure on Tuesday afternoon but quickly deleted it. The tweet was apparently sent in error.

The Independent contacted the Channel 4 press office for comment; the press office would neither confirm nor deny the statement's accuracy. After the publication of this story the broadcaster issued a statement confirming Mr Abraham's departure.

Mr Abraham, who has headed the broadcaster since 2010, has been an outspoken opponent of Government suggestions that the broadcaster, currently owned by the public, should be privatisated.

Last year he said his channel “continues to make an economic, social and cultural contribution of a kind I simply cannot imagine a company structured to maximise shareholders’ financial returns being able to match”.

The media boss said at the time that the idea of privatising the channel “really does feel like a solution in search of a problem”.

This view would have apparently put him at odds with elements in the Government; previous leaks have suggested plans have been developed to sell off the broadcaster, which is funded by adverts but owned by the taxpayer. It was reported at the end of last year that plans for a full sell-off have been shelved, at least temporarily.

The statement as posted on the Channel 4 press Twitter account (Twitter)

The leaked statement included comments from Charles Curassa, Channel 4's chair of the board, and Mr Abraham himself. Mr Curassa pledged a "comprehensive recruitment process" to find a successor for Mr Abraham.

Mr Abraham's comment in the statement says he will be working "back in the private sector" and that he hopes to build a new organisation.

In the statement, Mr Gurassa, the broadcaster's chair says: "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.

"He leaves the organisation in excellent creative and financial health and with a strong and highly experience team in place. We wish him in his future new enterprise.

"My colleagues on the board and I will be undertaking a comprehensive recruitment process over the next few months to ensure that Channel 4 continues to have outstanding leadership into the future."

Mr Abraham says: "I had three priorities when I joined Channel 4 in 2010: to build an indepnedently sustainable business while still delivering strongly to our public remit; to assembly a digital team capable of delivering creative renewable 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 £1 billion, investment in content £700m and sustained creative performance, I have decided that 2017 is the right year for me to hand over this important job to my successor."

He said he had "enjoyed" his time at C4 and added: "I now look forward to working with the Channel 4 board to support and hand over to my successor and then begin the next phase of my life – back in the private sector where I hope to build and organisation that makes use of all that I learned form leading different kinds of innovative creative businesses."

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