Channel 4 - Chair

Body: Ofcom
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: Various
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The appointee will receive appropriate remuneration. All reasonable and properly documented expenses incurred in performing the duties of the role will be reimbursed in accordance with Channel 4’s expenses policy.
Time Requirements: The time commitment is likely to be four to five days each month although extra time may be required should the government decide to pursue a change of ownership for the Corporation. The successful candidate must be able to devote the time required to perform his or her duties satisfactorily. This will mean, in addition to attendance at board meetings, you will be expected to devote appropriate preparation time ahead of each meeting and to attend such other meetings as necessary to carry out your duties. This appointment will be for up to three years, though possibly renewable by joint agreement. In the event of a change of ownership of Channel 4, the role may finish ahead of the specified three-year term.
Closing Date: 13/12/2021 12:00

Vacancy Description

The Channel 4 Television Corporation is more than a public service broadcaster, it is a unique and distinctive part of life in the UK. There is nowhere quite like Channel 4. Publicly owned yet commercially funded, it occupies a unique place in the UK's media landscape. Channel 4 was created to be a disruptive, innovative force in UK broadcasting and its role is to represent unheard voices, challenge with purpose, and reinvent entertainment. It broadcasts across the whole of the UK and is available on all digital platforms via a network of 12 television channels including Channel 4, E4, More4, Film4, 4seven and 4Music, as well as All4, the UK’s biggest streaming service. Film4 co-produces feature films for the UK and global markets.

The current Chairman of Channel 4 will step down towards the end of January 2022 and Ofcom is seeking to appoint a successor. The Chair has responsibility for leading the Board which provides strategic direction and ensures that Channel 4’s statutory requirements and public service remit are fulfilled. The Chair also plays a key role in maintaining effective and collaborative relationships with key stakeholders, including with Government. The UK Government is currently consulting on a potential change of ownership of the Corporation, while maintaining its status as a public service broadcaster. In the event a decision is made to pursue a change of ownership of Channel 4, the potential implications for the organisation would be wide-ranging and the Chair would play a central role in stewarding the organisation through such a change.

This backdrop sets the stage for an enormously exciting and ambitious period ahead for the next Chair to lead Channel 4. We are seeking an individual who has been involved in a significant organisation at senior level with a proven track record of strategic planning and stewarding an organisation through a period of change. The person appointed will be someone of considerable stature and reputation within their industry, with experience of exercising financial management, able to handle multiple and competing stakeholders and able to demonstrate leadership and understanding of contemporary consumer facing businesses. Experience of either chairing a company or being involved with a company at board level or its equivalent is essential. A strong interest in broadcast media and/or the digital or communications sectors more generally would be advantageous, as would experience of the broadcasting industry. Experience of building effective and collaborative relationships with Government and regulators would also be helpful. Candidates must also demonstrate personal integrity of a high order and a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in all its aspects.

The appointment will be made by Ofcom, subject to approval by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Person Specification

An individual is required who has successfully led or been involved in a significant organisation at senior level with a proven track record of strategic planning and stewarding such an organisation through a period of change, reflecting the rate of transformation across the broadcasting industry. The person appointed will be someone of considerable stature and reputation within his/her industry; with experience of exercising financial management, able to handle multiple and competing stakeholders and able to demonstrate leadership and understanding of contemporary consumer facing businesses. They should demonstrate a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in all its aspects as well as adhering to sound corporate governance principles. Candidates should be able to demonstrate their understanding of the role Channel 4 plays in the UK’s broadcast, digital and creative industries ecosystem and the major trends in the fast-changing global media landscape, including the growth in digital consumption and the preferences of younger audiences. An understanding and experience of how to sustain and grow an innovative and creative culture would be advantageous.

Noting the current consideration being given by the UK Government to Channel 4’s operating model, including its ownership, remit and obligations, candidates should preferably have experience at board level of stewarding a business through a significant corporate transaction. Candidates should ideally demonstrate an understanding of such transactions and, in particular, the role played by the Chair and the Board as a whole in such processes.

Experience of either chairing a company or being involved with a company at board level or its equivalent is essential. A strong interest in broadcast media and/or the digital or communications sectors more generally would be advantageous, as would experience of the broadcasting industry. A track record of building effective and collaborative relationships with government and regulators would also be helpful.

The appointment calls for a mature, clear, outlook, consistently sound judgement and a proven record of handling difficult issues with authority and confidence. Strong leadership, strategic thinking and vision, and interpersonal skills are essential to deal effectively with internal and external relationships, even when these prove challenging. The ability to achieve consensus through balanced discussion at board level is vital and, therefore, personal characteristics such as patience and tolerance would be invaluable.

The individual must also be robust, lively, quick-thinking, of high intellect and independent spirit, who can challenge and act as a sounding board to the Chief Executive and other Board Members. Whilst providing leadership to the Board, the Chair will be committed to working collegiately with Board Members and building a positive relationship and an appropriate division of responsibilities with the Chief Executive. Candidates must demonstrate personal integrity of a high order.

A fluent communicator is required who can represent the organisation externally as well as internally. The ideal candidate would be approachable and outgoing but have the strength and resilience to chair a company with demanding external and internal issues and challenging commercial objectives.

Additional Information

Introduction

Channel 4 Television Corporation is a high profile publicly owned, commercially funded broadcaster transmitting across the whole of the UK and available on all digital platforms (terrestrial, satellite and cable) via a network of 12 television channels including Channel 4, E4, More4, Film4, 4seven and 4Music, as well as All4, the UK’s biggest streaming service. Film4 co-produces feature films for the UK and global markets. Channel 4’s total revenue in 2020 was £934 million, including a record £161 million in digital advertising revenue.

The current Chairman of Channel 4 will step down towards the end of January 2022 on completion of his second term of office, and Ofcom is seeking to appoint his successor. The appointment will be made by Ofcom, subject to approval by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The UK Government is currently consulting on a potential change of ownership of the Corporation, while maintaining its status as a public service broadcaster. In the event a decision is made to pursue a change of ownership of Channel 4, the potential implications for the organisation would be wide-ranging and the Chair would play a central role in stewarding the organisation through such a change. This may result in the appointed candidate not being required to serve a full three-year term.

The Organisation

The primary responsibility of the Corporation is to secure the provision of the Channel 4 service in accordance with its public service remit, which is the provision of a broad range of high quality and diverse programming which, in particular:

  • Demonstrates innovation, experiment and creativity in the form and content of programmes.
  • Appeals to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society.
  • Makes a significant contribution to meeting the need for the licensed public service channels to include programmes of an educational nature and other programmes of educative value, and
  • Exhibits a distinctive character.

The Corporation has additional responsibilities to participate in:

  • The making of a broad range of relevant media content of high quality that, taken as a whole, appeals to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society.
  • The making of high-quality films intended to be shown to the general public at the cinema in the United Kingdom.
  • The broadcasting and distribution of such content and films.
  • The making of relevant media content that consists of news and current affairs.
  • The making of relevant media content that appeals to the tastes and interests of older children and young adults.
  • The broadcasting or distribution by means of electronic communications networks of feature films that reflect cultural activity in the United Kingdom (including third party films).
  • The broadcasting or distribution of relevant media content by means of a range of different types of electronic communications networks.

It must also:

  • Promote measures intended to secure that people are well informed and motivated to participate in society in a variety of ways.
  • Support the development of people with creative talent, in particular people involved in the film industry and at the start of their careers.
  • Support and stimulate well-informed debate on a wide range of issues, including by providing access to information and views from around the world and by challenging established views.
  • Promote alternative views and new perspectives.
  • Provide access to material that is intended to inspire people to make changes in their lives.

 

Channel 4 was created to be a disruptive, innovative force in UK broadcasting. Channel 4’s current Future4 strategy (published in November 2020) is aimed at articulating the organisation’s purpose, creating change through entertainment. Channel 4’s role is to represent unheard voices, challenge with purpose and reinvent entertainment.

As a publisher-broadcaster, Channel 4 does not produce its own programmes but commissions them from more than 300 creative partners across the UK. It works closely with the independent production sector and invests heavily in training and talent development throughout the industry.

As part of its 4 All the UK strategy, Channel 4 established a National HQ in Leeds as well as creative hubs in Bristol and Glasgow. It has committed to upping spend on creative content in the Nations and Regions – from 35% to 50% of main channel UK commissions by 2023, worth up to £250 million more in total.

For further information about Channel 4, including its latest annual report and accounts (2020), please visit the website at www.channel4.com.

The Board

The Board comprises the Chair, Deputy Chair and up to 13 other members (executive and non-executive). It is currently structured as follows:

Non-Executive Members

  • Charles Gurassa (current Chair)
  • Lord Holmes MBE (Deputy Chair)
  • Althea Efunshile CBE
  • Paul Geddes
  • Tom Hooper
  • Roly Keating
  • Andrew Miller

Three other roles are currently being recruited.

Executive Members

  • Alex Mahon, Chief Executive Officer
  • Ian Katz, Chief Content Officer
  • Jonathan Allan, Chief Operating Officer

The Board provides strategic direction and ensures that Channel 4’s statutory requirements and public service remit are fulfilled. The Board meets monthly except August, with meetings in London, the Channel 4 National HQ in Leeds, as well as in its offices in Bristol and Glasgow.

The Chair has responsibility for leading the Board in setting the values and standards of Channel 4, for managing and providing stability and direction to the Board and for maintaining a relationship of trust with and between the executive and non-executive members. The Chair also plays a key role in maintaining effective and collaborative relationships with key stakeholders, including with government.

The Chair is also responsible for, inter alia:

  • Leadership of the Board, ensuring its effectiveness in all aspects of its role including the setting of the agenda.
  • Ensuring that all members receive accurate, timely and clear information.
  • Ensuring that all members continually update their skills and the knowledge and familiarity with Channel 4 required to fulfil their role both on the Board and on committees.
  • Facilitating the effective contribution of non-executive members and ensuring constructive relations between executive and non-executive members.

It is the role of the Chief Executive to run the business of Channel 4 under delegated authority from the Board.

How to Apply

Channel 4 has retained Russell Reynolds Associates to advise on this appointment. For further information about the position and additional details on qualifications, requirements, terms and conditions of service and how to apply, please follow the link to the Candidate Information Pack below.

Diversity in TV and the media is a top priority for Ofcom and Channel 4. Channel 4’s vision is to build on its heritage as a trailblazer in diversity, with an emphasis on achieving greater inclusion; to be a beacon to the UK industry of what an inclusive, diverse and creative culture can look like. We know diverse teams allow for a more creative and productive environment and therefore encourage applications from qualified candidates irrespective of ethnicity, age, disability or long-term conditions, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, working patterns or religious beliefs.

Attachments
Candidate Information Pack

This post is NOT regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments.

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