Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham has quit

LONDON — David Abraham, the chief executive of major UK broadcaster Channel 4, is stepping down after seven years.

Channel 4 accidentally tweeted about Abraham’s departure on Monday afternoon, but later confirmed the news in a full statement.

Abraham joined Channel 4 in May 2010 from rival UKTV, where he was also CEO. He has overseen a turnaround in the broadcaster’s fortunes, helping the company post a record revenue of £979 million ($US1.2 billion) last year.

His departure has been announced, however, with question marks still hanging over Channel 4’s future.

The company has an unusual ownership model in that it is owned by the UK government, but is completely commercially independent. The money it makes from TV advertising and other revenue goes straight back into content, supporting innovative public service programming and the British production industry.

But the government has been assessing Channel 4’s future, with an eye on potentially privatising the broadcaster. The matter remains unresolved despite repeated calls for clarity from Abraham and other senior Channel 4 executives. Abraham has called privatisation, or part-privatisation “a solution in search of a problem.”

News of Abraham’s departure emerged in an unorthodox way. At 2 p.m., the Channel 4 press account tweeted a screenshot of part of the announcement, with the caption “long text to image.” This was swiftly deleted as it went out ahead of staff being told the news.

In the statement, Abraham said: “I have decided that 2017 is the right year for me to hand over this important job to my successor.”

More follows.

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