Channel 4's new chairman named as Charles Gurassa by Ofcom to replace Lord Burns as privatisation question mark hangs

Lynsey Barber
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The logo of Britain's Channel 4 televisi
Channel 4 faces potential privatisation (Source: Getty)

Charles Gurassa, the deputy chairman of EasyJet has been named the new chairman of Channel 4, succeeding Lord Burns.

“I am delighted that we have appointed a chairman of Charles’ calibre to Channel 4. He brings with him a wealth of experience built up across a broad range of sectors," said Ofcom chairman Dame Patricia Hodge.

The chairman of the publicly funded broadcaster is appointed by regulator Ofcom and approved by the secretary of state for culture.

Talks to retain Burns, a former Treasury mandarin, for another three years when his two term six year tenure comes to an end this January had taken place and recommended by Ofcom but was not supported by ministers, according to reports..

The appointment of a fresh face comes at a time when a question mark hangs over Channel 4's future as a public service, with speculation that it may be privatised.

Gurassa is also chairman of the Genesis Housing Association, a trustee of English Heritage and a senior independent director at Merlin Entertainments. He was formerly chief executive of travel company Thomson and executive chairman of Tui in northern Europe. He was also chairman at Virgin Mobile and Lovefilm.

The former boss of Waitrose Mark Price who left the retailer in October had been a frontrunner for the job. He has been on Channel 4's board since 2010 and deputy chairman since 2013.

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