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Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham to step down this year

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By Jessica Goodfellow, Media Reporter

March 14, 2017 | 4 min read

Channel 4 has confirmed that chief executive David Abraham will step down from the role by the end of 2017 after seven years at the helm.

David Abraham, chief executive of Channel 4, could be set to resign after seven years at the helm

David Abraham, chief executive of Channel 4, could be set to resign after seven years at the helm

The broadcaster, seemingly prematurely, announced Abraham's departure in a tweet containing quotes relating to the decision from the man himself and Channel 4 chair Charles Gurassa.

The broadcaster later confirmed that Abraham intends to step down from his role in order to develop personal plans to launch a media enterprise in 2018. He will remain at the helm until a new chief executive has been appointed and is in post.

In a quote thanking Abraham for his work as the head of Channel 4, Gurassa said the broadcaster's board will be "undertaking a comprehensive recruitment process over the next months to ensure that Channel 4 continues to have outstanding leadership in the future".

In his statement, Abraham said: "After several successive years of positive momentum and with revenues now of £1bn, 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.

“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 an organisation that makes use of all that I learned from leading different kinds of innovative creative businesses.”

Abraham took the role in May 2010, succeeding interim chief executive Anne Bulford after Andy Duncan stepped down in November 2009.

Prior to this he was chief executive of UKTV, where he led the re-launch of the G2 channel as Dave. He was also president and general manager for TLC at Discovery Networks USA, where he oversaw all content investment and strategy, and general manager of Discovery Networks UK.

He joined at a time of uncertainty at the broadcaster, when commentators argued Channel 4 was "begging" for public money, putting its future as a public-service broadcaster at risk.

This was followed by the disappearance of the big ratings winners Big Brother and Friends.

Following his appointment, Abraham vowed to "put away the begging bowl" and armed the broadcaster with a new leadership team including Jay Hunt from BBC1 as chief creative officer at the beginning of 2011, to shake the business from its slump. In 2014, the broadcaster returned to profitability after two years of deficit, as it met its planned three-year investment and break even business target.

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