Newsnight’s Ian Katz to become new Channel 4 creative head

Katz has landed Jay Hunt’s old job

Ian Katz - BBC - BD

Newsnight editor Ian Katz has defied expectations to land Jay Hunt’s job in charge of Channel 4’s programmes.

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The appointment of Katz, a former deputy editor of the Guardian, was confirmed by the broadcaster today.

Katz’s elevation has surprised many in broadcasting given his relatively brief experience in the industry. He became Newsnight editor in  2013 having worked before as a print journalist.

Other front runners for the post were thought to include BBC3 controller Damian Kavanagh and Hunt’s deputy Ralph Lee.

Alex Mahon, Channel 4’s CEO said: “Ian is an inspirational leader who assiduously builds and nurtures talented and empowered teams. He has fantastic instincts and intelligence, huge editorial strength and is a proven creative and digital innovator, who lives and breathes the Channel 4 values.”

Ian Katz said: “I’m impossibly excited to be joining a broadcaster whose unique combination of innovation, risk-taking and elan I have admired for decades as a viewer – and more recently as a frequently envious rival. Channel 4’s deeply held values and relentlessly challenging sensibility have never been more important or relevant and I feel incredibly privileged to play a part in shaping the next stage of its remarkable journey.”

Katz will join Channel 4 in January. He succeeds Ralph Lee who has been Interim Chief Creative Officer since the departure of Jay Hunt in September 2017, and who has agreed to stay on in post until the end of the year.

Prior to the BBC, Ian worked for The Guardian in a wide variety of roles culminating in Deputy Editor and Head of News, from 2008 to 2013, when he oversaw the Wikileaks and phone hacking investigations.

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From 2006 to 2010 he was the Executive Editor responsible for the Saturday Guardian and Editorial Marketing and, from 1999-2006, was Features Editor of The Guardian, responsible for G2 and Arts.