Channel 4’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt has dropped out of the race to become the broadcaster’s next chief executive and has quit her current role there.
Hunt was thought to be a frontrunner to replace David Abraham in the CEO job but reports suggest that Channel 4’s imminent move out of London – set to take place following the ongoing consultation instigated by culture secretary Karen Bradley – is at least partly behind her decision.
The potential for protracted negotiations with the government over the move and likely budget cuts may also have played a part, according to Broadcast.
Hunt joined Channel 4 from the BBC in 2010 and has overseen a period of creative fertility, with commissions including Gogglebox, Catastrophe, Humans, The Island, First Dates and The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds, as well as the acquisition of The Great British Bake Off from her former employers.
Under her stewardship, Channel 4 was twice named Channel of the Year at the Edinburgh TV Festival and in 2014 and 2015 won more Baftas than any other broadcaster.
“I’ve loved being at Channel 4 and am incredibly proud of how far we have come creatively,” Hunt told Broadcast. “From the multiple Channel of the Year awards to the raft of global hits, we’ve had real success. I’ve been lucky to have a superlative boss in David Abraham and to have been supported by the best commissioning team in the business. I also owe a huge thank you to the brilliant producers, directors, writers and on screen talent who’ve made it such a thrilling time to be at the helm.
“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.”
“Jay took on one of the biggest challenges in broadcasting back in 2011 and through immense creativity, courage and determination has delivered magnificently,” said Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham. “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.”
Hunt will remain at Channel 4 until the end of September in order to oversee a number of major TV events including the launch of Bake Off and coverage of the Paralympic World Championships.