Luke Johnson Named Chairman of UK's Channel 4

29 January 2004


Confounding a recent report, UK media watchdog Ofcom has named Luke Johnson as the new chairman of British TV broadcaster Channel 4.

Earlier this week, a UK marketing publication named Penny Hughes, former president of Coca-Cola UK as C4's choice -- a story WAMN reported in good faith.

However, on Wednesday Ofcom formally announced the appointment of multimillionaire entrepreneur Johnson to one of the most high-profile jobs in British broadcasting.

Johnson struck a mother-lode with the the Pizza Express fastfood chain, and now owns pricey London showbiz and media eaterie The Ivy. Nor is he new to the media industry: he started his career with ad agency BMP and then worked as a media analyst.

He takes charge of Britain's third largest terrestrial station which, although funded by advertising, is state owned. His part-time contract runs for three years and pays an annual salary of £67,500 ($123,901; €98,235).

"Channel 4 plays a critically important role at the heart of UK public service broadcasting, with a brilliant track record at the forefront of innovation and creativity in television," Johnson declared. "I am very excited about this opportunity to help guide its development in the future."

Aside from Hughes, other contenders for the post included Hans Snook (founder of Orange), Miranda Curtis (president of Liberty Media International), Stuart Rose (ex-chairman of retail firm Arcadia) and Bob Phillis (ceo of Guardian Media Group). Johnson replaces outgoing chairman Vanni Treves.

The new Channel 4 boss will be charged with guiding the station through an age of media fragmentation and heightened competition. Day-to-day management, however, will be left to chief executive Mark Thompson.

"Luke combines an outstanding commercial and strategic track record with a passion for public service broadcasting and Channel 4," commented Ofcom chairman David Currie. "He has the ideal experience to guide the Channel 4 board as it addresses the significant challenges ahead."

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff