UPDATED 15:23: Channel 4 has now confirmed the news. Abraham intends to step down from his role by the end of 2017 in order to develop personal plans to launch a media enterprise in 2018. David will remain in role until a new chief executive has been appointed and is in post.
Channel 4 CEO and former marketer David Abraham is stepping down as chief executive after seven years.
The announcement was made in a tweet by the Channel 4 press office this afternoon (14 March), but was deleted after 10 minutes. Marketing Week got in touch with the broadcaster, which would neither confirm nor deny the story.
However, the tweet included statements from both Channel 4 chair Charles Gurassa and Abraham.
Gurassa said that under Abraham’s 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 experienced team in place. We wish him well in his future new enterprise. My colleagues on the board and I will be undertaking a comprehensive recruitment process over the next months, to ensure that Channel 4 continues to have outstanding leadership into the future,” he said.
David Abraham added: “I had three priorities when I joined Channel 4 in 2010: To build an independently sustainable business while still delivering strongly to our public remit; to assemble a team capable of delivering creative renewal 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 £1bn, investment in content of £700m and sustained creative performance, I have decided that 2017 is the right year for me to hand over this important public job to my successor.”
He is now set to “start the next phase of [his] life”, where he will return to the private sector and hope “to build an organisation that makes use of all that I learned from leading different kinds of innovative creative business.”
After a career in advertising that led in 1997 to the foundation of the creative agency St. Luke’s, Abraham went on to senior creative roles at Discovery Communications in the UK and US before becoming chief executive of UKTV in 2007.