The next chair for U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has been named by Ian Cheshire, a veteran businessman. This was revealed by Ofcom on Sunday. Cheshire will join the broadcaster’s board on Apr. 11, succeeding interim chair Dawn Airey.
Cheshire is currently chair at Spire Healthcare plc, chair at Menhaden plc the environmental investment trust Menhaden plc and a non executive director of BT plc. He is also the chair of the Prince of Wales Charitable Fund and the Mental Health at Work Leadership Council. He was group chief executive of Kingfisher plc from 2008-2015 and before that he was chief executive of B&Q from 2005. He also served as the British Retail Consortium chair, Barclays U.K. chairman, Debenhams plc president, Maisons Du Monde SA chief executive officer, and Whitbread plc senior independent director.
He was the lead non-executive Director at the Cabinet Office and chaired the Ecosystem markets Task Force and the Economy Honours Committee. He is currently the Chair of the independent Food Farming and Countryside Commission. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in Retailing and Green Business.
Cheshire will assume his position at a moment when Channel 4 awaits a decision from the government regarding its privatization. This was last year after an industry consultation process. Although the government has yet to make a decision on Channel 4, it would have a significant impact on Channel 4, which is a publicly-owned, not-for profit corporation.
Cheshire was knighted by the Ordre National du Merite in France for services to the environment, business sustainability and the environment. U.K. Culture Secretary Nadine Drries has approved his three-year term.
In their prepared statements, none of the participants addressed the privatization issue directly.
Dorries said: “I am delighted to approve Sir Ian Cheshire to be the new chair of Channel 4. Sir Ian has an impressive record at the helm of some of Britain’s biggest businesses and I am confident his proven leadership will help Channel 4 go from strength to strength and ensure it thrives long into the future amid a time of rapid change for the sector.”
Maggie Carver, Ofcom’s interim chair, said: “Sir Ian is a terrific appointment for Channel 4. He has a distinguished track record in both public and private service, and will ensure the highest standards of governance and accountability as a hugely experienced chair of other major boards. I would like to thank Dawn Airey for serving so brilliantly as Channel 4’s interim chair since January, and Charles Gurassa for his excellent six years of service before that.”
Cheshire said: “I am excited to be joining Channel 4 at this vitally important time for public service broadcasting. As it transforms for a new era of media consumption, I look forward to helping Channel 4 deliver for viewers right across the U.K. for many years to come.”