Channel 4’s Gill Whitehead departs for Google

Channel 4’s director of audience technologies and insight, Gill Whitehead is to depart the broadcaster to take up the role of senior director of market insight EMEA at Google.

Whitehead spent eight years at Channel 4, joining as director of strategy and corporate development, before being asked to create and lead its Audience Technologies and Insight department in 2011.

In the role, she developed the much lauded ‘viewer engagement strategy’ which saw it create a database of registered viewers (now well in excess of 13 million, including over half of all 16-34 year olds in the UK) which Channel 4 and its ad partners are able to tap into in order to inform creative and marketing efforts.

One frequently cited example of its success is a Burberry campaign where viewers watching 4OD content were served personalised adverts.

Whitehead previously told The Drum that the project has been both her “proudest achievement and most challenging experience” in her career .

Commenting on Whitehead’s departure, Channel 4 chief David Abraham, who has regularly credited the strategy with helping to drive growth in its digital revenues, said: “Gill has played a critical role in driving Channel 4’s data strategy and creating an industry leading model for viewer engagement.

"She has made a huge contribution to the success of Channel 4 over the last eight years and we wish her all the very best in her new role.”

She will be replaced at by Sarah Rose, currently Channel 4’s director of commercial and business development, who will take on the new role of director consumer insight.

“Sarah is an outstanding executive with a huge breadth of experience across the industry,” added Abraham.

“She has already been a major force in some of our biggest commercial and business innovations over the last decade and I know Sarah will be a fantastic addition to Channel 4’s executive team.”

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