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Channel 4’s creative chief Jay Hunt steps down in midst of CEO race over relocation qualms

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By Jessica Goodfellow, Media Reporter

June 2, 2017 | 3 min read

Channel 4’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt has announced she will step down in a few months despite being frontrunner for the chief executive role, just weeks after the Conservatives pledged to move the broadcaster out of London.

Jay Hunt has been leading the broadcaster’s creative strategy and programme commissioning for almost seven years

Jay Hunt has been leading the broadcaster’s creative strategy and programme commissioning for almost seven years

Alex Mahon, the former chief executive of production company Shine, is now thought to be favourite for the role, which will be formally announced next week, according to a source close to the matters.

Hunt has been leading the broadcaster’s creative strategy and programme commissioning for almost seven years and was thought to be the favourite to succeed chief executive David Abraham, after he announced he was stepping down in March.

The creative boss negotiated the broadcaster’s poaching of The Great British Bake Off from the BBC and is credited with sparking its creative renaissance since her arrival in 2011. She would have become the first female chief executive to run a top UK broadcaster.

But the Conservatives' pledge to move Channel 4 from its London headquarters should they win next week’s general election – a move which many senior executives at the broadcaster have vehemently opposed – is thought to have changed her mind about running for the top, according to the Financial Times.

Hunt will leave the broadcaster at the end of September. It is not yet known where she is going.

Announcing her departure, Hunt said: "Channel 4 is a unique and special place. I've really enjoyed leading this phase of its creative renewal and I'll be cheering the new leadership team on from afar."

David Abraham, outgoing chief executive, added: “Jay took on one of the biggest challenges in broadcasting back in 2011 and through immense creativity, courage and determination has delivered magnificently. In recent years the delivery of our remit and our creative output has reached new heights and both I, the staff of Channel 4 and the whole industry owe Jay huge thanks for all she has achieved."

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